The subject of mental health is something that is being widely spoken about in today’s society and I couldn’t be happier. One book I recently read again that focuses on this subject is My Mad Fat Diary, originally named ‘My Fat Mad Teenage Diary’, which is one of my all-time favourites.
This book relates Rae Earl’s complicated teenage years during the late 1980s, published in 2007. Rae struggled with body image and her mental health, she was admitted to a mental ward when she was 16-years-old and this book is her original diary during the time after she left the hospital and regained contact with her family and friends.
Her diary is honest, which is the most important thing about this book. She doesn’t seem to leave any stone unturned, anything she felt she wrote in her diary. You can’t help but sympathise and empathise with this girl, I related so much with Rae whilst reading this, and it actually helped me realise some things about myself.
This personal account of her thoughts and feelings is a real treasure to explore.
Teenage Rae went through struggles that almost every teenager goes through. The issues of body image, family troubles, making friendships, fancying a friend, and mental illness. You laugh, cry and cringe alongside her, which makes this a heart-warming and enjoyable read.
A personal highlight of mine was Rae’s own little creations, songs, and poems, that are not only hilarious but also a great insight into Rae and how she felt during that time. This book is raw and real, which in my eyes makes it perfect.
One criticism may be that this doesn’t follow the usual structure of a teenage novel but given the fact these are Rae Earl’s real diary entries, makes reading this book even more heart-wrenching. You feel for Rae, you want to grab hold of her hand and be alongside her in her journey. You want her to know that she isn’t the only one, that there are so many young people who feel the same way.
This is a beautiful, calm, realistic book that makes anyone who is struggling, realise that they are not alone, and it will get better.