This past week, I’ve been reading Not Alone: Stories of Living with Depression, a Civitas Press community book project edited by Alise Wright. I had hoped to complete the book by today in order to write a complete review as part of her Not Alone Blog Tour. But the combination of a week-long cold and my own publication news this week allowed me only enough time to read the first half. So I apologize in advance for another partial review. I plan to finish the book in the next week and post a complete review both here and on Amazon.
So what are my impressions of the book thus far? Like any anthology, Not Alone brings different voices together to speak on a common subject. While the style and the quality vary from chapter to chapter, one aspect remains constant: these are all honest and powerful stories. It is difficult reading at times—stories of abuse, considerations of suicide, and vivid descriptions of the deep dark spiral that so many of us know so well.
That’s what makes this book difficult for me to read. I’m not clinically depressed—like the brave writers featured here—but like many people I’ve experienced brief glimpses of that darkness myself. I’m also sympathetic by nature and I tend to feel the same emotions that others around me are experiencing. Many times while reading this book I heard the voice on the paper speaking to me and felt what the writer was feeling. Because of this, I could only manage a few chapters at a time before I was emotionally drained (and that’s on top my cold and my exhaustion from a very busy week).
But despite being a hard read at times this book serves a noble purpose. So many people struggle through depression not knowing how many others deal with the same struggle. Having these stories together in one volume could make a difference in so many lives, and that is why I hope this book succeeds in reaching the people it needs to reach.
Alise Wright once described me on her blog as a “great encourager.” I was overjoyed with that compliment because it was the precise reason why I became a writer: I had a story to share with others who were going through what I went through. Alise and all the contributors to Not Alone are great encouragers as well. May God bless their endeavor.