By Ashley King
'This girl will either be the death of me or be the very reason I breathe.'
Everyone has a story. Some are just darker than others.
Claire's Song is an oxymoron - a book that is one of the saddest books you'll read, and yet also one of the sweetest, at the same time. There is no other way to describe it but as bittersweet. Fragile moments of happiness intertwined with times of pain and sorrow. Raw, emotional and a balm to the heart, this novel is refreshing as it ditches stereotypes and provides readers with reality.
What is reality you may ask?
Reality is pain. Or more correctly, reality is the understanding that there will be pain and you can't escape it. But you can get through it.
Often novels try to give readers the illusion that mental illness was created by Hans Christian Andersen. It's tragic, but it's a fairytale. People can fight through it on their own, and if they sink deeper into it, they have no one to blame but themselves.
Or, worse, they show mental illness to be something you can cure with the wave a magic wand.
But that's not reality. The reality is that we need to ask ourselves a very important question:
Why do we so often forget the people side of things?
Yes, things like depression are an illness of the mind. But they're affecting a person's mind. And that person has feelings, a past, emotions and as many rights as any sane person does.
Claire's Song warns its 21st century audience about the dangers of judging.
I think that was one of parts of this book that stayed with me most. How Claire was so, so close to moving on from what had happened. But she was confronted with it every day. Which was thanks to the immature people around her - hateful, spiteful people who hide behind their ignorance so as to come out on top in an imaginary power struggle. It shows how every person had an obligation to treat others with respect, and to never judge someone lest you be pushing them further down an already rocky path.
Love music? This book is for you!
This book not only gives readers a great story, but one of the best playlists ever! Claire and Ryder have amazing taste in music, and the songs they listen to throughout this book are great picks to listen to at any time - or even whilst you read this book :)
A journey of self-forgiveness, Claire's Song is another classic example of an NA novel that delivers what it promises, and will find its way into readers' hearts.