Sometimes the hardest thing about reading a book – wanting to read it because of the synopsis – is that you are faced with two outcomes. Loving it or hating it. Sometimes there is just no in between. And for me it’s really rare to have the in between.
For me, Carrie Mac’s 10 Things I Can See From Here, is the in between.
Don’t worry; be happy.
Keep calm and carry on.
Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.
Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves?
Here’s the thing guys – I really want to say that books that take away the stigma’s of mental illness – I am all about it. Too often we have the idea that mental illness is something to be quiet about. It’s not. It’s not something to take lightly.
And what we can appreciate about 10 Things I Can See From Here is that it doesn’t. But the problem is that it focuses on too many things at once and what you’re left with is trying to decipher the story. Which would be fine – if the pacing of it was okay. But it was as if some moments flowed and some moments you got stuck wondering how you could get from A to B.
Those things set aside, the book was humorous and the positivity at times seemed to balance out the seriousness of the story – Maeve’s anxiety.
Mac’s writing is poignant and beautiful. The way that she writes Maeve’s issues – you feel the anxiety as it starts and as it intensifies. You feel for her. You grow with her. You want to make her okay. Mac throws love in to the mix, but it’s not love that heals Maeve. Maeve finds room for love, but it doesn’t make her anxiety go away. And I loved that the representation in this book was good. d
While there is good the only question I really walked out with was why was it that Maeve’s parents wouldn’t let her take medication for her anxiety. Was there a shame that they felt?
It saddened and confused me.
Overall, 10 Things I Can See From Here is worth reading. It’s got great representation, a good protagonist and does mental illness well. If you can look past the plot holes and the wtf where did that come up with ending, you’ll be good.