My Heart and Other Black Holes is a poignant and eloquent book, written by Jasmine Warga.
Sixteen-year-old Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother than can barely look at her, classmates who whisper about her behind her back and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to put an end to it all. There’s only one problem – she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But when she discovers a website that allows her to find a ‘suicide partner’, she’s convinced she has found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who is haunted by a family tragedy and is looking for a partner.
Although Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in the holes in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel starts to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Is it too late to try to convince both herself and Roman that there is still light to be found within the seemingly perpetual darkness?
I can’t even begin to explain how much I loved reading My Heart and Other Black Holes. This had been a book I have wanted to read ever since it was published and I was so excited to get my hands on it. The idea of the book really captivated me and I desperately wanted to read it to find out what this book was going to be like. From the synopsis, this might just sound like another depressing book. But this book isn’t ‘just a depressing book’. Sure, it’s very sad in some parts and can be quite confronting, but this book shouldn’t be labelled as just another book that revolves around the theme of teen suicide. A lot of people attack books like this one and put labels on them, saying that these types of books romanticise depression, mental illnesses, and even suicide. I understand that some books can appear that way, but this book in no way glorifies depression or suicide. This book felt completely honest and raw. Yes, there was romance in this book. No, the problems that these teenagers had and faced were not romanticised.
There are aspects of this book that are confronting and very saddening, but if anything, that made me love reading this book more because it felt so real. Nothing in this book was sugar-coated and everything felt realistic and therefore it was very powerful. Because of the themes of this book, I wouldn’t recommend this book to younger readers and I’d be cautious handing this book to someone with severe depression, but I do think this book is very much worth reading. Yes it’s sad, but that’s not all that this book is. It’s comforting in a way, because it shows how someone who wants to end their life can find hope and love once again and realise that life is worth it. The book ends on a hopeful note as well, which is great to read.
One of the things I loved most about this book was how the author tackled issues such as suicide and depression really head on and didn’t glorify these things. There’s always a lot of talk about how some people think that ‘sick lit’ makes mental illnesses something to aspire to have and how having a mental illness or suicidal thoughts will make someone fall in love with you and ‘save you’. But really, although this book does have romance in it, it isn’t the defining factor which is required to overcome these problems. This book discusses the fact that while other people can help you, they can only help you to some extent, and no one can save you but yourself. In that way, this book contained some really positive messages about being strong and brave and finding the things in life that make you want to live.
Another thing I loved about this book was how beautifully written it was. This book was eloquent and poignant and every word seemed perfectly placed on the page. This wasn’t just a book, it was a stunning and moving piece of prose that I know will stay with me for a very long time. After getting this book just last week, I’ve already read it twice. This is the type of book that can be read over and over again and I know I’ll be picking it up whenever I want to read something touching or something to help me put my pain into perspective. I think this book is worth reading for people both with and without depression, keeping in mind that every person is different and can handle different things, but I felt as though this book gives such an honest insight into suicide and really helps people understand this topic which is either not touched on enough or is misconceived. This book will either give people empathy to those who are in a similar situation to the characters or give people hope and know that there are people feeling the same things as they are and that they aren’t alone and that there is hope.
This book also had an air of mystery about it, which was unexpected but enjoyable to read. For the majority of this book, we don’t know why the main character feels the way she does and why she wants to end her life. As the book progresses, we slowly learn more and more about what placed her in this position and it was shocking to find out what lead her to where she was now. This book was utterly enthralling and I could hardly put it down. The whole time I was desperate to find out what was going to happen and I couldn’t have been any more happy with how this book turned out. I was definitely not let down by this book and it surpassed my expectations.
I loved reading about all the characters in this book, especially Aysel and Roman. They are both deeply flawed and messy, but that’s what makes them so interesting and endearing. It was amazing to be able to get to know them. They’re both so complicated and that makes them all the more fascinating to read about. I also loved seeing Aysel’s character development throughout the book. I loved her snark and her sometimes cynically humorous outlook on life. I found myself both laughing and crying in this book. Aysel and Roman are two characters that will stay on my mind for a long time.
Overall, this is now one of my favourite books. I congratulate the author for writing so honestly about suicide and depression, because that must be a really tough thing to do. Depression isn’t beautiful, it’s ugly and messy and destructive and sometimes deadly, and I felt as though this book conveyed that extremely well. I’d give My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga a score of 10 out of 10. If any of you have read this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
“You’re like a grey sky. You’re beautiful, even though you don’t want to be.”
“I make a promise to myself: I will be stronger than my sadness.”
“Sometimes I wonder if my heart is like a black hole – it’s so dense that there’s no room for light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still suck me in.”