“Everyone’s normal, everyone’s weird, everyone’s just trying to deal with their own life and keep calm and carry on. And hold on to something what’ll keep them going.”
Title: I Was Born For This
Author: Alice Oseman
Number of pages: 395 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Well portrayed mental health problems and tons of diversity and queer representation!
Bad things about this book: It gave me anxiety but that’s normal so it’s okay.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here
I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.
It was almost 2 am when I finished this book, and I had work the next day. I read for HOURS, non-stop. I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know how it was going to end. I couldn’t leave these characters mid-journey. How could I? Each of them had something of me in them and they got me feeling shaken yet seen. Here. Understood. Overwhelmed. This was not an easy book to read, and I loved it for it. For its hard and true themes.
Angel is a super fan of a boy band called The Ark. She is spending a week with one of her best internet friends, Juliet, and they’re going to go to The Ark’s meet and greet and concert. This is going to be an amazing week for both girls. Wrong, of course, since nothing really is as easy as it’s supposed to be. Jimmy is one of the three members of The Ark and he has mental health problems he can’t deal with and keep at bay because he doesn’t have time for therapy sessions. The band is gaining a lot of fame and they are always on tour, or doing interviews, or in music shows. They don’t have a normal like anymore and it’s taking a toll in Jimmy’s brain. It’s bad. I really can’t imagine how it is to be someone so famous you can’t go outside, you get mobbed by crazy fans, you can’t trust anyone. It’s horrible.
I felt more for Jimmy than for Angel because a lot of his problems also were mine. They’re not as bad and I can deal with them by myself, for now, but I could relate to his anxiety and paranoia like I haven’t been able to do with any other character in the past. I, too, am afraid of being killed or dying and in my mind I have imagined every single scenario, trying to see unsuccessfully a way out. They always end badly. I’m on edge when I walk, when I’m in a car, when I take the train, the plane, etc. Everything triggers me a death vision. I have to live with it and because of that I think I know a little how hard it was for Jimmy. He needed professional help and he needed it as soon as possible.
I went into this book thinking it was going to be a romance novel. I was wrong and I was glad I was wrong because it was really perfect the way it was. The themes it touched were both important and difficult, and I liked how they were portrayed. I recognized myself in his struggles, and, as I do when I can’t deal with what I’m facing, I focused real hard to give him the strength he needed to get through an attack. I cared deeply about his wellbeing and I couldn’t put down the book until I saw a little light at the end of the tunnel. I knew things weren’t going to just disappear, he was not going to be suddenly okay, cured, but I wanted to see if he was going to find his balance and face the challenges the world was throwing at him.
Loved the diversity. A Muslim girl who was probably queer, a half Indian half Italian gay trans boy, a bisexual guy, a black guy, and a half Chinese girl. I’m a Latina woman living in Italy; I never see myself represented, my situation is not usually at the base of any book, but I settle with as much diversity as I can get. In my little town I look around and see 98% of the same kind of people and my eyes glow when I see someone different. Imagine if I lived in London and see around me so many different faces each one of them with a different and probably interesting story to tell. My story is boring as hell, but I like to imagine all the other not Italian people around me, has an incredible story worth listening to.
I keep thinking about the last chapter of the book and I keep smiling. It’s the perfect ending for this kind of story. I couldn’t have asked for a better closing chapter. Full of hope. And hope is exactly what we all needed.
I’m taking a break from books for a couple of days because I have read so much in just two days and my brain feels like it’s collapsing. But I’m extremely happy that my last book before this much needed break was this one. I recommend it to everyone.