Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ReView of A SUBLE THING by Alicia Hendley


I found out about this book through a book review on the following web-page: http://www.emlynchand.com/2011/03/book-review-a-subtle-thing-by-alicia-hendley/.  I was pretty impressed at how well it was reviewed. Sadly, though, I found the book to be a little stale and sort of one dimentional.  I didn't think the author really did too great of a job describing the character's more deeper and intimate feelings and struggles through depression. I know from experience there's much more to say about what a character goes through in their times of depression. I have to say that I felt more close to the book reviewer's account of the book (on the webpage above) than I did with the actual book.

Nevertheless, I think it was good to be opened to such a book, even if at some points I was doing more skimming than reading.  It is written by a PhD in psychology.  It's a very modern day portrayal of how we treat and cope with depression in our day and age, unfortunately, through psychologists, psychiatrists, or other forms of escapism.  I felt sort of irked that she was so dependent on her psychologists to guide her through it all.  I have a different perspective in dealing with person difficulties that aren't medically physical or medically considered a biological or genetic disorder.  In cases of depression that arise from our external environment, or from childhood trauma, or our relationships with other people, treatment with a psychologist or medicinal prescriptions will not necessarily resolve the underlying problem. It will most likely treat and deal only with the symptoms.

It's quite 'coincidental' that the two days I was reading this novel at the book store I 'randomly' stumbled upon a book called Plato Not Prozac!:Applying eternal wisdom to everyday problems by Lou Marinoff, PhD.  This is exactly MY point-of-view, my kind of book, not quite Alicia Hendley's novel 'A Subtle Thing'.  I will post an entry on this book contrasting philosophy and psychology in the treatment of our episodes of 'depression'.  I don't believe one is better than the other, I just don't think the two disciplines, in their bifurcated approaches, can be as useful or powerful without each other.  I think our lack of knowledge of philosophy and of the ancient scholars that lifted our society up from the ground into intellectualism has been ignored in our 'modern' and 'technologically' advanced 'society'.  I also think that these two alone, aren't enough either.  Recovery and empowerment from depression also has to take into account spiritually, self-improvement, religion, communal support, and other more stable forces that strengthen the individual at the core of his being rather than superficially and temporarily.

I do want to mention two more things.  I was very impressed by the choice of the cover.  One of the themes prominent in the book Jane Eyre was this notion that the fate of a person is in their face....their face says quite a lot about the state of being of a person.  So when I first took a look at this cover I noticed how the forehead, the areas under the eyes, the top of the nose and her upper chest were colored in a sky blue color. Those are areas of our face that carry much of the heaviness of our troubles, and yet the color blue gives it hope, a cooling effect from the fires of depression.  And I love how the blue was made to stand out with the contrast of a warmer color like the red and brown tints of the hair.

Lastly,  I found it powerful in the book when her psychologist tells her to write letters to the peoples she  has wronged as a way to let go of the pain and guilt being endured from knowing you have caused pain to the ones you love.







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