Beyond The Surface Book Club: A Talk About Suicide and Depression


*trigger warning for suicide and depression*

Our first book of the month: My Heart and Other Black Holes, is centered around probably one of the most hard-hitting topics in mental health: suicide. This topic is an ugly one, but also a very important one to discuss. 

Here is a deeply personal story of my connection to this topic. 

Deep breaths…. 

I had an Uncle in my family.. let’s call him Uncle J. This uncle, he had problems with alcohol, probably was part of his depression, but he never discussed that with anyone as far as I know. The most important part of his character for me however, was that he was always a great father for his kids. I never once saw him happier then when they were in his life, but then again a lot of things in his life hit him a bit too hard. 

In the end he committed suicide. I don’t know why. I was never close enough to him to know. I don’t think even his daughters could have ever known why. But what broke my heart was his daughters reactions. They spiraled into deep depression for a while. Just looking at their faces for a moment and you could see a brokenness. It was a long long time before I ever saw them look normal again. I… I don’t truly have words for what that must have been like for them. 

When something like that happens, that’s when you truly see that even though you may be one whole person, but their are more people then you could ever know in your corner and rooting for you. Suicide is nothing to romanticize. Even I have nightmares of the way things went down. So many complications, so many strings, so many awful emotions. 

So when it comes to depression, if your someone who believes in giving that person time to think through everything and leaving them alone in their grief, please don’t. Even if it’s just staying in a room with someone while they are sobbing, or staying with someone when they have expressed darker thoughts, don’t leave them alone. Be the person that saves that kid of the bridge who makes a final decision in that single moment. And if ever someone comes to you asking to talk or for help of any kind don’t leave them alone, be there, sometimes something you think may be insignificant can be monumental for someone else in a darker state. 

Also if you are in a darker state please call the number that is the title of the song linked above: 1-800-273-8255 

Thanks for reading. I know that this got to pleading real quick, but for me all the things said here needed to be said. I have been at a point in my life where everything came crashing down and those thoughts those self-loathing encrusted thoughts flooded in. Without support from my family, without a God mom who made sure she never left me alone when I wanted to be alone in the bathroom sobbing my eyes out I don’t know where I would be. 

Sign up for the Beyond The Surface book club on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/235823-beyond-the-surface

-Till next time!

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins: A Review 

Tricks By Ellen Hopkins
Rating: 4.5/5 stars 

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Published: August 25, 2009

Received: Thrift store find

Purchase: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository

When all choice is taken from you, life becomes a game of survival. Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching . . . for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don t expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words, I love you, are said for all the wrong reasons. These are five moving stories that remain separate at first, then weave together to tell a larger, more powerful story a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. And figuring out what sex and love are all about. TRICKS is informed and inspired by living near Las Vegas a big teen prostitution scene and by the fact that teen prostitution is not exclusively the result of kids running away from abuse. Kids from better families are selling themselves for hefty sums in order to finance addictions or even just to buy jewelry or clothing. In some cases, parents prostitute their children for the same reason. So what happens to the kids who are asking themselves, and asking us, Can I ever feel OK about myself? Highly charged, TRICKS is a gripping experience that turns you on and repels you at the same time.”

Musings: 

This book broke my heart. It took me almost a full week to get through because of how hard-hitting it was. It was almost crushing. 

As with all Ellen Hopkins books it was beautifully written, but for this one in particular I would also say jarringly written. 

Important note (trigger warning for rape, sexual violence, prostitution, drugs, drug abuse, depression, and overall emotional pain) 

The themes in this book were handled in such a way that they are impossible not to think about. Not a single person gets a reprieve from their own harsh realities and it was so easy to feel how broken down everything gets, especially toward the end. 

The only reason this book was not a 5 star read for me was because of how worn down I felt while reading it. Whatever joy there was, was fleeting and almost immediately deviant. Any hope I would wish for would be denied and I came out of it utterly sad. (I definitely need a light happy read after this one) 

If you can handle and appreciate the sadness and the darkness of this topic, I would 100% reccomend this book. It is not easy to read emotionally, but it is an important book no matter how much it has made me sad. 

The characters are very real and you will feel for there lives. Bad choices mixed with circumstance and a lot of loss lead to a whole lot of sin and regrets. Tricks is a book that grabs you for better or for worse. 
Thank you for reading. I kept this review short and sweet. Speaking about the subjects and other details surrounding this book is really hard for me. I’m a bit of an empath (especially in books) so this story kind of sucked the life out of me (not really in a bad way the book is incredible). I hope you enjoyed. 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? If you haven’t read it have you read any of Ellen Hopkins other books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. 

-Till next time!