(Not) Alone by Tyler Wittkofsky (Book Review)

Rating: 5/5 — It’s mental how good this is.

Cover page for (Not) Alone by Tyler Wittkofsky

A vulnerable but relatable protagonist

Henry Hovishky is man beset by mental issues, none of them his own fault or what he wanted out of life. The list of issues assaulting the poor man reads like a who’s who of mental illnesses, and you feel for Henry as he battles the unseen forces fighting to tear him apart from the inside out. His raw emotions, whether it be anger or sadness, or the mechanisms he adopts in order to deal with his unwanted issues, from taking to the bottle to popping some pills to chase the pain away.

Relatable relationships and reflective events

It is not only Henry who is relatable on the character and human front, but his friends, family and the relationships he shares with others are just as reminiscent and reflective of the bonds that we share with our own relatives and friends. The way that his friends and family care for him, the love and tenderness shown as they help him grapple with his inner demons struck a deep cord with me, as it mirrors my own relationship with friends and families as they travelled with me up the steep mountains and through the darkest valleys of my own turbulent and emotional teen and young adult years.

A final triumphant message

Finally, the novel really drives home the fact that mental illness is serious business. So serious that Henry had to resort to so many different avenues and methods in order to escape it’s clutches. He was trying to find the exit door from rationality and live life as a raving lunatic before dropping straight into the grave, which would be a sad end for such a brave soul like Henry.

Conclusion

Repeating what I said above, this book perplexes me. However, the mystery of Henry Hovishky unravels well with each turn of the page. You find yourself rooting for him to overcome his inner demons, to find solace in the midst of the tumultuous sea that is his ravaged mind and to find peace where he has felt none since the beginning of time.

Writer, lawyer, insomniac. Strictly in that order. www.ajtrevors.com

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