Review of Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

I honestly had no idea what to expect when opening this book for the first time. It’s the Waterstone’s Non-Fiction Book of The Month, and I’ve heard pretty good things about it too. And, seeing as I’ve unwillingly had a theme of mental health in the books I’ve been reading this month, so I thought why not?

Aged 24, Matt could see no way to carry on living, and he found himself staring off a cliff edge, preparing to jump and end his own life. He could have added to that statistic that shows that suicide rate is highest in men under the age of 35 in the western world. But, he didn’t. Matt didn’t jump. This is the story of why he didn’t. Why, in the midst of depression and anxiety, he didn’t jump.

I really can’t put into words what I really think about this book, so I’ll do my best to try and say what I think.

This book isn’t an autobiography. Don’t read it expecting witty anecdotes from Matt’s embarrassing school life, or him describing how he thinks he’s going to feel aged 80 and looking back on life. That’s not what this book is. It’s more than that, and far less materialistic.

Everyone has a book which they feel that they can read and feel as though that Matt’s hand of support is reaching through the pages to pat you on the shoulder and tell you, “It’s OK.” The book isn’t a book, it’s like reading a hug. And that sounds like something I’d be paid to say, but I’m being genuinely serious by saying this.

The chapters come in short, sharp shots of information, maybe 3 or 4 pages at a time, meaning it’s by no means a heavy book, but it delivers meaningful words in a powerful way.

Matt’s an astounding writer, and no matter what you’re reading right now or what your type of book is, Reasons To Stay Alive is a book you just have to read.


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