This post originally appeared on the blog Stepping Away From the Edge on July 26, 2022.
Often, when I’m writing what Bonny and Carole and I call our “promotional posts” (to try to entice you to Read With Us), I haven’t read our selection yet. But this time, I have!
I think Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason is a terrific Read With Us choice. Although the subject matter (mental illness) is dark, the book is nothing like our last selection (Young Mungo), which was really, really dark. So if you’ve been holding back on picking up Sorrow and Bliss because you just don’t want to be emotionally beat up by a book again, well. You can breathe a little easier with this one.
That said, this novel pulls no punches when it comes to the heartbreak that comes from mental illness! Sorrow and Bliss is a searingly honest look at a woman trying to navigate life and relationships with a misdiagnosed mental illness, and it also explores the impact her illness has on family members and loved ones. The novel is sad and heartbreaking, yet it’s also charming, witty, and funny. The characters are authentic, the dialogue is fresh, and the entire storyline moves along at an easy pace.
What was really interesting to me about this book is the author’s refreshing take on not “labeling” the main character’s particular mental illness. In fact, the mental illness featured in the book is completely made up! Without a label, we readers can remain open to what’s actually happening to her, rather than filling in the blanks from our own experience or assumptions.
I’m sure there will be much to discuss when we get together to talk about the book in September!
If you’re wanting more insight into the book, Bonny shared Meg Mason’s (she’s the author of Sorrow and Bliss) inspiring bulletin board with us last week. And two weeks ago, Carole shared several interviews with Meg Mason (including a fascinating video interview). If you’re looking for a good review of the book, here’s one from The Guardian.
I do hope you’ll pick up a copy and Read With Us.
The book is currently available on Amazon in hardback ($16.69), paperback ($13.09), Kindle ($6.99) or Audible versions (1 credit). Check your local bookstores for a copy, too! The book should also be available at most libraries, without too long a wait.
Our Read With Us book discussion day will be coming up on Tuesday, September 13. Bonny, Carole, and I will each post discussion questions on our blogs that day, and then – later in the evening (7:00 pm Eastern time zone) – we’ll be hosting a live book discussion/meet-up on Zoom.
Read With Us!