I have gotten behind on my reading recently. Books that I purchased weeks, months, even years ago, got lost in the disarray that was my bedroom. But, I purchased a new bookshelf and purged many of the unwanted things that kept my personal space cluttered beyond what any person could ever withstand, and now I’m able to get back to what brings me such joy — reading, and writing, and feeling at peace in my comfort zone that wasn’t very comfortable for quite a long time.

I’m not going to call this a review. I’m going to call this a “babble” because that’s what I’m doing. Babbling about something that has brought so much happiness into my life.

I picked up Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall last night, and I finished it today. It took me less than 24 hours to read 326 pages when I haven’t read more than 50 pages in the last few months.

Norah’s struggle reminded me very much of my own. Do I have OCD or Agoraphobia? Nope. I don’t. But, I do have anxiety, and I do find it difficult (often impossible) to leave my house some days. For the longest time, I would only leave once a week to see my therapist. I have self-harmed in the name of finding control. I have pushed away many of my friends, and I have struggled with facing them again. Before now, I had never read a novel about mental illness. Now that I have, I want to read every novel about mental illness. Finding a character that you can relate to on such a deep level is thrilling.

Luke reminded me of an old friend. A boy I fell in love with, a few years ago. I was scared to tell him about my struggles, so afraid he would tease or just stop being my ‘pal’ as we liked to call one another. I never told him everything, but I told him what I felt was necessary for a possible boyfriend to know. He was supportive and kind, and I appreciate the time I spent with him. He’s no longer in my life. Not every story ends happily. But, I feel such joy knowing that I had my very own Luke, even if only for a short while.

Norah’s mom and my mom are so similar, it almost scares me. How did Louise Gornall meet my mother and create a character inspired by her without me ever knowing it? Soft, and kind, and loving, and my safety net. That’s what my mother is to me, and that’s what Norah’s mother is to her.¬†God blessed me with the most beautiful mom a wack-job like me could ever hope for.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve assumed that after enough years of swallowing pills and going to therapy every week, I’d be healed. Cured. “Normal” at last. This book helped me realize that (a) “normal” isn’t a real thing, (b) our differences make us beautiful, (c) we’re worthy of being loved despite our struggles, (d) we can overcome everything this life throws our way.

I’m thankful for Norah’s story. I’m thankful for Louise. I’m thankful for the power of literature.

I’m positive some things could have been handled better within this book. This isn’t me saying that there aren’t flaws, or that it’s a perfect work of art. It is not. But it touched me in a way that a book hasn’t in over a year, and I appreciate the way I felt during the hours I spent reading it.

If you haven’t read this beautiful novel, I suggest you do so immediately. If you have, I’d like to know your opinion, good or bad. If you have any book recommendations for me, I’d be happy to add a few more to my bookshelf.

xoxo, Megan