This book was so much more than I thought it was going to be - so much rawer, more hopeful, eyeopening, and heartbreaking - than I thought it was going to be.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, (Don't) Call Me Crazy edited by Kelly Jensen. Thanks so much to Thomas Allen for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own.

I knew, going into this book, that it was going to be an intense read. Mental health is an important topic to talk about, but it's often painful to lay oneself bare and open up about it. This book works to show a variety of perspectives on what it's like to live with a mental illness or other types of neurodiversity. However, as many of the authors point out, each person is more than just their diagnosis.

Some of the authors range from YA novelists, including S. Jae-Jones and Adam Silvera, to Olympian Nancy Kerrigan and illustrations from artists like Gemma Correll. Most of the stories are told through words, but some include pictures, graphics, and other visual elements.

The collection itself is very nicely divided into multiple sections, talking about mental health in a variety of settings, as well as manifestations physically in the body, as well as culturally in society today. I really enjoyed this grouping technique to organize everything, I felt like it worked really well.

This is a hard book to read. Some of these stories are extremely heart-wrenching and could be triggering for some readers, so please take care to be cautious going forward. I don't know that there's anything super-graphic, but just be aware.

While you have the hindsight to know that each person is continuing on in their life in the best way that they can, these are real-life, living, breathing, feeling people who have opened themselves up. And while many of the stories were difficult to read, the overwhelming sense I am left with at the end is not sadness or despair, it is courage and strength, drawn from this conversation. This book shows you that you are not alone - you are never alone - no matter how hard it gets.

Overall, a great non-fiction look at mental illness to help open up the conversations we need to be having.