*** Trigger warnings: Suicide, suicidal thoughts and mental illness ***
Review: This doesn’t really have a blurb so I’ll just explain myself what Project Semicolon is all about. Basically, Project Semicolon is a suicide awareness organisation, founded in 2013 by Amy Bluel and is dedicated to preventing suicide. The idea of the semicolon is that in a novel, when an author uses a semicolon, it signifies that the sentence isn’t over and using a semicolon in this instance is to signify that your own personal story isn’t over, especially if you’ve been affected by severe mental health, suicidal thought or suicide attempts. This book is a collection of short paragraphs and short essays from people all over the world with a whole spectrum of mental health conditions and stories where they share what they’ve been through, their darkest times and how they’ve come through the other side.Now, this all sound very uplifting and hopeful but I was sent this book as a review copy, just like any other fiction book I get sent so I’m going to review it as such. This isn’t a book you need to read from start to finish or in any particular order, which I like. You can pick it up, flick to a random page and go from there. And the stories range from half a page, to 4 pages, so none of them are overly long and I think that helps the reading experience. Obviously it was down to each individual writer how long their essay was going to be. I get the idea behind turning this into a book with all these stories in one place, I do. But I’m not sure if it worked for me, personally.
Despite the fact I utterly admire all of these people who wrote in this book with all the stuff they went through – which can be very dark at times – I couldn’t help but feel that the stories focused more on the “bad” and the dark times rather than the “getting through the other side and continuing your story and injecting hope into everyone that relates” side of it, which is the impression I was under when I found out about this book. I’m not a stranger to sharing my problems and I don’t for one second believe anyone should skirt around difficult issues just to get to the light and the rainbow at the other side. They need to be spoken about but I thought this book would leave me feeling… enlightened almost. But it didn’t.
Because of how much good this organisation does, I almost feel bad for not giving it a glowing review. I have no doubt that this book will help a whole ton of people and I hope that majority of people who read it feel the complete opposite in their reading experience and opinions of Project Semicolon than I did. I’ve always loved the Semicolon tattoo idea and the meaning behind it. Being in a pretty okay headspace right now I wasn’t affected too much by the stories in the book but had I not have been or had I given this book to someone going through suicidal thoughts or any other severe mental health issue, well, put it this way… I wouldn’t. I’m sorry I didn’t love this more.