“Book Review: How to Save a Life”
Reviewed by Chika Anene
A book chock-full of useful advice for how to remain positive in a time where positivity seems hard to find
How to Save a Life: Answer the Call is a mental health nonfiction book that came about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In it, author R. Read explores the realities of depression and the taboo topic of suicide, among many other relevant topics to our current situation. She also shares real-life experiences and tips for how to best cope when suicide seems like the only way out.
R. Read’s book, as suggested by the author herself, can be read within the space of 30 days, or it can simply be read in one sitting due to its short chapters. Whether you decide to read How to Save a Life: Answer the Call from cover to cover, or you decide to go back and forth between chapters, it’s an enlightening read filled with nuggets of relevant tips for anyone going through a hard time and in need of a pick-me-up.
Read’s story grabbed my attention from the beginning, as she opens up about her own personal encounter with depression and suicide in the first few pages. Since the primary audience for this book is the person with negative and/or suicidal thoughts, starting the book with personal encounters like these proves effective—letting us know that Read is here with us, that the reader is not alone. Oftentimes, people need to be reminded through real-life encounters that there are many people in the world who are experiencing the same thing that they are experiencing.
In addition to the useful personal anecdotes, How to Save a Life also speaks about toxic relationships in a fresh and honest way. This is something a lot of people struggle with, and Read offers useful insight on failed relationships, betrayal, and manipulation in regards to our mental health.
We also cover topics that people often forget about—like the smaller, seemingly insignificant things that bring long-term contentment. According to the author, writing saved her life, and she uses her way out of suicide as an example to encourage people to find activities that can make them happy.
This is a wonderful read for those who are looking to cope during the pandemic, especially for those who find that it’s particularly hard after losing a job or a family member. However, it also offers plenty of insight for loved ones who seek enlightenment on the realities of suicide and depression.
I thoroughly enjoyed How to Save a Life: Answer the Call, and I know that I won’t be alone in that. It is relevant and deeply needed in our current state, and I, for one, am glad it’s out here with us.
Paperback: 104 pages
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