A Way Out: A Memoir of Conquering Depression and Social Anxiety
What do you do when you’re trapped in your mind? When you can’t escape the feelings of depression and fear?
A Way Out gives a raw, unfiltered look into the life and thoughts of a young woman, Michelle, experiencing severe depression and social anxiety. Social anxiety plagued her since her early youth, hindering her most as a young adult. She began having suicidal thoughts in her early teens but didn’t perceive them as being abnormal. This eventually evolved into a deep depression. Her social anxiety and depression fueled each other, creating a grave cycle of negative thoughts.
Michelle is able to share her experiences in a way that allows others to go along for the ride with her: the highs, the lows, and the amusingly unexpected. It artfully conveys Michelle’s journey through mental illness and toward mental health. Beyond the haunting honesty, A Way Out delivers heart, humour, and hope.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 8 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 9.00 out of 10
Plot: Balge's memoir takes an iterative approach, mimicking the rumination of the anxious mind. Repeated focus on pivotal moments from the past serve to provide insights into the ways that mental illness both shapes and is informed by life events.
Prose: Balge's prose is solid and succinct, while her anecdotes are vivid and descriptive. The use of repetition is an effective stylistic choice, yet the narrative voice at times possesses a detached quality that may prevent readers from fully connecting to the author's experiences.
Originality: This narrative offers an insightful perspective on mental illness; the story's originality stems from the author's unique concerns and life circumstances.
Character Development: Readers will gain a clear understanding of how the author's mental health has impacted her life trajectory and inhibited her sense of self, while her recovery offers a glimpse into who she may become in the future. Depression itself emerges as a disease that is devastatingly real, debilitating, and cruel.
Date Submitted: April 03, 2018