Book Reviews

The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva: Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

Published August 2nd, 2019.

My rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.

Thank you to the author, Lana Grace Riva, for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

“Not the jokey kind of OCD where someone might occasionally double check they’ve locked the door and say ‘I’m so OCD about that door!’. There’s nothing remotely jokey about the kind I have.”

The Existence of Amy – simply put – is a lovely book.

I think Riva manages to capture the daily struggles of someone suffering from untreated OCD and depression really well. Not only does what Amy deal with seem realistic, but it’s told in a way that feels immediately relatable. It’s very easy to empathize with Amy, whether the reader themselves has experienced similar conditions or not.

Amy’s story is one of strain and struggle, but above all else, resilience. I like that despite the majority of the novel focusing on the challenges Amy faces in her everyday life, it still manages to end on a hopeful note – without undercutting the realities of what that would actually look like for someone dealing with OCD and depression. Amy recognizes that her “happy ending” will always require hard work, but as long as she’s willing to try, that in itself is a success worth celebrating.

“It’s small progress but small progress I am aware is the way this works. I can’t expect big changes overnight. Or even over a handful of nights.”

I also appreciated that while the main focus of the novel was on Amy herself, the rest of the characters were well developed and interesting in their own right. I especially liked Amy’s friend Nathan, who is the type of nonjudgemental and supportive influence everyone deserves to have in their life.

Overall, I think if you’re the type of reader who appreciates books that are thoughtful, touching and full of emotion, I would sincerely recommend you take a look at The Existence of Amy.

What books have you read that include thoughtful depictions of mental illness?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.

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