I'm really enjoying a year that is including so much more reading. The latest novel I've finished is called The Suicide Club by Sarah Quigley. This was probably an unusual request for me given the title of the book.
At the moment there seems to be some groundswell around how we best deal with what is definitely an issue - is it the final taboo? I'm not sure, but there are certainly difficulties around it. How do we address the issue of suicide without glorifying it, pointing fingers or making those with serious issues like depression feel worse? What are the answers for the 'average joe' (is there such a thing?) when journeying along side someone who is feeling suicidal?
The book is a fictional novel about 3 brilliant young people who are all struggling with covert and overt issues. Through the story their paths cross and become entwined, whilst each of them face their own fears, their own battles, and their developing love for each other.
Quigley states that the novel is for her and attempt to open the suicide discussion more and she has lost a friend to suicide.
In the novel she has created a world of 3 very beautiful young lives, she has brought them to life and then takes us inside what it is to walk in their shoes. In doing this she certainly creates an atmosphere of compassion and empathy towards what is a real and massive struggle for many people.
I found the book to be very moving and the emotional weight of the characters brought me to tears in the end.
I would add it isn't a 'hopeful' book in terms of journeying with a suicidal person. It doesn't offer any sense of hope or strategies for helping a person who is or has attempted suicide... maybe the author didn't want to do any of these things. Because of this I would be very hesitant to recommend it to young people (it's billed for adults) and I would hold back making judgement on who else it may or may not be helpful/hopeful for... I would be interested to see how people who have journeyed through suicidal tendencies or attempts respond to this book - theirs is probably the best voice to make a thoughtful or meaningful statement in that regard.
Quigley is an excellent writer, the narrative is engaging and there are some beautiful visual moments in the book.
I leave you with one of the quotes I loved from the book:
It may seem a lot but Lace knows every one of the books intimately: their covers, pages, pencil markings, turned-down corners. They're the only things that have stayed the same: words never change, no matter how long you're out of the room, and she loves them for this.
Details - The Suicide Club by Sarah Quigley. Penguin Random House May 2017 RRP $38.00