I'm a bookworm of the highest caliber! If you see me, I'll probably be reading. There's nothing I love more than finding a good book, and then sharing it with the world!
Can I give this book 10 stars? This makes me want to go back and change my review system so that there's something higher than every other book that I've rated as a 5 this year, because that's how much this story affected me. Some Kind of Happiness was one of the toughest books I've read this year. Although the story was absolutely breathtaking, I kept having to put it down and take a breather. It's not easy to read about yourself in a book. To find that the author understands what you're going through so intimately that you feel like your insides are being exposed to the world. I felt for Finley, I loved Finley, because I was Finley, and that made me feel raw.
I know that you're probably all tired of hearing my spiel on how amazing the world of Middle Grade books can be. It's something that I say a lot, but the truth of the matter is that it hasn't gotten any less accurate as a statement. Claire Legrand could have chosen to write an adult book about depression and anxiety. She could have chosen to write a Young Adult book. Somehow though, they wouldn't have worked as well as Finley's story does. Seeing a 10 year old girl who is dealing with these feelings, who feels like she has to lock them up inside so that no one knows she's broken, just hits home so damn hard. I don't know if I ever felt like Finley when I was 10, or if I just ignored it because it wasn't "normal", or if I just blocked it out of my memory. What I do know is that now, even as an adult, I can see myself as that 10 year old girl. Struggling with the blue days, trying to motivate myself to get up and do the things that you're supposed to do. It's all the more real because she's so young, and not afraid to be honest with the reader.
There's this gorgeous balance here between fantasy and reality. Much like we escape into our books to forget the world, Finley escapes into her writing about the Everwood. These excerpts from Finley's writing, the moments when she would stop talking about herself and start talking about the "orphan queen" just stuck with me. To deal with the emotions, to deal with the pain, she poured all of that into her alter ego. Into her fiction. I read a lot of Fantasy to this day, for that very reason. To hide in another world. To find myself in someone else for a while so that I can stop being me. Claire Legrand's character was so rich, so honest, so real, that she had my whole heart this entire novel. She ripped it to shreds, and pasted it back together. I sobbed, I sniffled, and I kept reading because sometimes you need that.
I guess this isn't really a review anymore at this point. It's more me letting you know that this book has become deeply personal to me. It's well-written, yes. Claire Legrand has a way with words that is hard to explain. It's also full of all kinds of people who are real people. Flawed, liars, secret-keepers, with pasted on smiles to make other people feel comfortable. Structurally this book is fairly perfect, but that's not what I was focusing on. It was the emotion poured into this book. It was the characters who I understood on such a deep level that it was like I was right there with them. It was the moments of lighthearted childhood, mixed in with the blue days and the sadness. It's like this book was written just for me.
It'll be a long time before I'm able to read this again, but that's okay. I think it's burned into my memory and it's not going anywhere. Finley is a part of me, and I'm a part of her, and I wouldn't have it any other way.