I struggle with the genre of self-help books so I was quietly relieved when Bryony Gordon announced early on in Mad Girl that this book does not fit in to that category. Instead this is tale of a roller coaster life that has all the highs and lows that anyone with any form of mental illness will find all too familiar.
Bryony is plagued from an early age by OCD, not just the routines and the repetition but all consuming negative thoughts. Her first real memory of this is at twelve years old when she becomes convinced she is dying of AIDS, withdrawing from her family, unable to concentrate on anything else.
As a reader your heart bleeds for the teen Bryony Gordon as things seems to go from bad to worse as she starts to lose her hair. When she recalls the unfair treatment she receives at the hands of a shop manager you feel she could swing either way, collapse into a depression or fight harder than ever. She takes the insult on the chin and goes on to follow her dreams to become a journalist.
As we all know, she made it but achieving a dream doesn't always equate to happiness. Struggling with her OCD, an eating disorder and a coke habit, years of self destructive behaviour start to take their toll.
I adored Mad Girl, the descriptions of her paranoia might find you getting a little anxious just reading them but her brutally honest humour always perks up the darkest scenes. From laugh out loud funny to tear jerkingly sad, all the way round to wonderfully inspiring, Mad Girl is a book I would force into the hands of anyone who has struggled with their own mental health or knows someone who is currently in that situation (lets be honest, that's all of us!). There is a funny side to mental health issues, we can point and laugh at ourselves even in our darkest hours and I'd like to say a big thank you to Bryony Gordon for letting us along for the ride. If we could all be as honest about our own state of minds as she is here I think the world would be a much happier place.
Buy your copy of Mad Girl by Bryony Gordon from Amazon here.