A Review – The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

We’ve thankfully grown better at conversing about mental health in recent years. But how much do we fully understand about the different illnesses? In the book ‘The Existence of Amy’, Lana Grace Riva takes the reader on a journey to recovery with main character Amy. Amy faces a daily battle against OCD and depression, but accessing that help proves to be her biggest challenge.

We soon grow attached to her and are determined to see her lead the life she so desperately desires. The life that is held back with extra caution by her mental illness. Riva takes the reader alongside Amy and her battle with her mind and its’ debilitating ways, through the highs and through the lows. I devoured this book within days as I felt a certain devotion to Amy. I wanted to know that she would get better, I wanted her to see that she deserved her place on this earth. I became emotionally attached, thanks to Riva’s ability to get the reader engaged with her characters.

I particularly found the recognition of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) crucial. Prior to reading the book, I had a rough idea of what it meant for a person battling it and a small concept of the affect it can have on a person’s life. But Riva delves into how the illness affects every aspect of Amy’s life, really opening up the reader to the reality of this illness. In terms of opening up discussions surrounding mental health, this was huge for tearing down the stigma. There were elements that I found myself relating to from my own struggles, and others that made me consider taking a moment to react when friends cancel plans or act a certain way.

We are becoming better at discussing mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, but struggle with severe mental health problems that many people worldwide find themselves dealing with daily. The author succeeds in drawing light to a mental health problem rarely discussed in depth as well as the assumptions friends and family often make.

I would’ve liked more detail on the character’s, their age and appearance but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s a great, modern novel, raising awareness and breaking the stigma on mental health, showing that with the right people around you, you are supported and cared for – no matter how you may be feeling.

Lana Grace Riva’s book is available for purchase on Amazon here.

Ciao for now x

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Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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