*** Trigger warnings: Suicide, suicidal thoughts and mental illness ***
Format: Uncorrected proof
Links:Amazon UK | Goodreads
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.
I have never read this book, but I have heard about the movement, project Semi Colon. I think the idea of having a semi colon tattoo, to remind oneself of an ‘interruption’, (i.e. the semi colon) but not a real ‘end’ (i.e. full stop), is a very beautiful idea. I often consider having a tattoo done myself.
I love the idea of the tattoos too (: xx
Oh what a shame they didn’t get the other half of it right, I haven’t read it myself but can definitely see how that would happen. I think you are right, if it doesn’t offer an emphasis on the other end of mental illness than I’m not sure I would give it to someone in a really bad headspace either.
Definitely not – I don’t think it was intentional. But that’s just how I interpreted it xxx
Sad that you didn’t enjoy this! I haven’t heard too much about the project
I’ve heard a lot about this project and i do think this book is a good idea but i have to agree about giving it to someone who’s maybe not in a good place x
For sure – it’s an amazing organisation I just don’t think it translated well to a book xx
up until now, I didn’t realise what the semicolon meant, although I have seen it as a tattoo a few times. How wonderful that so many have shared their story although you are right, a focus on the positive would have been better
Hannah @ The Northern Writes | http://www.thenorthernwrites.co.uk
Ah really?! Well now you know!
I admire the idea behind this type of book, but like you said, I don’t think this would be the best thing for someone going through a bad time.
A Sparkle Of Grace
Yeah absolutely, the idea is wonderful but I’m not sure in reality it works
I really love that you’ve been so honest about this. I know that if I read a book focused on how hard life can be while I’m not in a good headspace, it would affect me so negatively. I do love the idea of the project and the tattoos are lovely, but you’re right, a book with some kind of positive resolution would be good!
Absolutely I LOVE the organisation a lot but I don’t think the book really worked IMO xxx
Ahh, thank you for writing such an honest review. I hate it when people beat around the bush – you got straight to the point, and that is something I can appreciate. It sounds like a book I would have loved when I was 15-17, however, now I like my depressing reads to focus on more positives than negatives; I think I am getting old. Hahaha.
Haha definitely not! But yeah there’s no point umming and ahhing about it for sure! xxx
I have to be honest, it doesn’t sound like the kind of book I’d read or be interested in. I’m sorry you didn’t like it but glad to see your honest review and opinion on it.
Thank you xx
I’d say this is probably better for those who don’t understand mental health? Those of a sound mind/stable if that makes sense? I can totally understand why you didn’t like it though, although I still might give it a go 🙂
Possibly. I’m sure the creator intended it to be for those who can relate but I think those who can’t relate could definitely learn something from it.
I’ve not heard of Project Semicolon (I obviously live under a rock) but based on your review I don’t think it’s one I’d like to read or recommend to others. Thank you for being so honest, X
Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com
Serious?! You’ve never seen photos of people with the Semicolon drawn on their wrists?! xx
I’m definitely going to read this! I want to get a semicolon tattoo because of the meaning behind it xx
Jamie | http://www.jamies-corner.com
It’s a nice tattoo for sure if you can relate and have experience with it xx
I think this is something which I am going to have to pick up and give a read as it does actually seem my cup of tea. Unfortunately, I am sorry that you did not love this book.
Hope you enjoy more than I did sx
It’s definitely a really great organisation working to do some fab things, but it’s a shame you didn’t love the book. It’s hard when often the focus is on dark times rather than recovery. xx
Yeah absolutely the organisation are fantastic, no negative thoughts towards them! xxx
I find when it comes to these sorts of things, it seems people focus on the dark and not on rcovery and how you can or help other get through it. I’m sorry you found it dark.
Yeah this could have DEFINITELY put more focus on the “how I got through it” part and like, how people are living and thriving now having got through the other side xxx
I’ve never heard of this book before but it sounds like such a good idea, however it is a shame that it wasn’t as good as you expected it to be.
In theory it is a VERY good idea!
This sounds like an interesting book. I have never read such a book but I think i’d struggle if it only focuses on the bad as you said xx corinne
Yeah it’s definitely a unique one this xx
Such a great review, I think I’d struggle to read this if it focuses on the bad stuff but it sounds like a hard hitting read nonetheless X
Thank you (: xxx
This sounds like an amazing book, but so so raw! I agree, it’s always so hard to read the ‘bad’, and I would probably struggle to read through it myself! Maybe that’s the shock factor they were after by telling such epic truths! I always wonder if it’s more helpful to hear the ‘coming through it’ rather than reading the ‘bad’!
Exactly… it’s a funny one and one that everyone would react differently to depending on their own experiences. Personally, I’ve never experienced suicide or anything remotely similar to anything they spoke about so I can’t relate on that level. But meh… I don’t know! xxx
I don’t think you need to be sorry for not enjoying it as much as you thought you would. Everyone will feel different about reading a book with so many stories about people’s dark times in it, and I personally think I would find it a tricky read. I think it might have been nicer if they’d split it into parts, with different sections for peoples writing from different phases of recovery, theme, etc.
Yeah possibly! It’s just some of the stories were so short that I’m not sure how that’d work. Hmm it’s a funny one this. I’ve read a few other reviews from people which have said the same thing, that they wouldn’t have given the book to someone who was battling suicidal thoughts. And it makes me wonder because the whole charity is to support people who have been through that sorta stuff!
This organisation sounds amazing and I’ve seen a lot of people talking about the Semicolon which I think is a great symbol. I don’t think for one second that you should feel bad for not loving this – not everything is for everyone and Its nice to see an honest review!
Sarah | http://www.sazsinclair.com xx
Thank you! I suppose I only feel bad because of the subject matter but at the end of the day, I’m reviewing the book and nothing more (: xxx
It’s a shame this you’ve found this book sounds so negative as it sounds like it could have been a fantastic read. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts! Xx
Yeah absolutely, nevermind. Hopefully other people will see it differently (: xxx
I’m glad I saw your review. As you say, the project does some great work but if it concentrates more on the darker side then at this moment in time it probably wouldn’t be best for me to read! I’m only just coming out of a dark period and it would more than likely drag me back. Good, honest review 🙂
I don’t think it intentional focuses on the “dark”, i just found that’s how the stories in it came across. I wasn’t exactly enlightened after reading them, basically! xxx
As someone who has been through this, and fortunately come out the other side I am so interested in reading this. But you’re right, this probably would not have been best for me while I was going through my really dark times.
I’m glad to hear you got through it (: I certainly wouldn’t have recommended it to you at that time xxx
Its a shame you found this book to be a little dark. The idea behind it sound so informative. xx
Yep, great idea but not sure it was executed brilliantly xxx
I love reading books about MH so I think that this book would be right up my street, but it’s a shame that you found this book so negative and not what you thought it would be! 🙁
I also love books about mental health, mostly fiction though! xxx
It sounds like this organisation does some fantastic work but it’s a shame that the book focused more on the darker side of things rather than trying to be enlightening! xx
Absolutely I don’t think it was intentional at ALL it’s just how the stories came across unfortunately xxx
The idea behind it sounds wonderful and you’ve highlighted a great organisation, it’s a shame you didn’t like the book entirely but at least you were honest about it which is very admirable 🙂
Thank you very much! It was difficult because of the subject matter I kinda felt like I had to say something good but at the end of the day, it’s the book I’m reviewing not the organisation and my opinions of the book have no reflection on my opinions of the organisation (: xxx
I agree about the fantastic work that this Project does, and I definitely love the symbolism of the semicolon, but I too would be a bit wary of giving a book like this to someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a bad period for their mental health – it sounds like it would reinforce the way that they’re feeling rather than attempting to lift them up and encourage them to keep going! Thank you for being entirely honest in your thoughts!
Abbey 💓 http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk
Yeah I totally agree, Abbey. I was really expecting more uplifting stories to be honest and whilst I’m under no illusion that all mental illness ends with a light at the end of the tunnel, I think a book like this which is open to the public to buy at their own free will, it’s could potentially be damaging? Thanks for your comment! 💓