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Cristina T.


Glitterland - Alexis Hall "My entire life subsumed into the act of waiting: waiting to be ill, then waiting to be better, the one consuming the other."

Glitterland is a devastatingly beautiful, very well-written book, which put my emotions through the wringer. The best books, to me, are the ones which make me feel. Sure, I sometimes need light and fluffy, but the books I truly don’t forget are the ones which get reactions out of me, the ones with substance and ultimately, the ones which hit so close to home that I find it difficult to read them.

Sometimes you come across a character who resembles you almost completely, so much that it’s like looking into a mirror and seeing your own reflection staring back at you. It makes you think damn, it’s like this author has reached into my brain, pulled my own thoughts out and wrote them down on paper.

The character in question is A.A. Winters. Ash is a bipolar depressed writer, who struggles with anxiety, self-hatred, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and mania. Due to his illness, he is a man who values his solitude, because he doesn’t want to be a burden, and sometimes, he is rude and downright cruel. He feels that his actions make him selfish and resents himself further for it. Because he is depressed, Ash sees the world through a fog of consuming sadness. To him, each day is a struggle, each ‘normal’ action feels like climbing a mountain–like going to the supermarket, for instance. Sometimes the darkness envelops him, so that the only way out seems to be ending his life, which, ironically, he doesn’t even have the energy to do. In spite of his illness, Ash is a beautiful person who has a lot to offer if given the chance–or more likely, if he can get past his own fears and insecurities.

I knew Ash was sick from the start, even before his diagnosis was presented. And I understood him completely, because I know what it’s like to be mentally ill. I got his actions, his thoughts, his fears, and his inability to believe he deserved to be loved. With the difference of not being bipolar, I too am depressed. So, I do know what it’s like to have a hard time functioning like a sane human being, how difficult it is to even get out of bed in the morning, to try not to let the pain make you drown. I know how hard it is to maintain a job, deal with people–even talk at times–and do your best to stay afloat when in reality, you do see the end as a relief, as an escape, a way to run away from the burden of life. I know what it’s like to be anxious, paranoid, and to prefer the ‘safety’ of your own home–though not even there do you feel safe, because you still have to live inside your own mind, which is the actual tragedy. Frankly, I felt for Ash, and I was really glad he was able to grow and allow Darian to make him happy.

Now, let’s meet one of the best characters in the history of books... Darian Taylor, the glitter pirate who lights up this entire book. He’s a charming, cheerful guy from Essex, who works as a model. He’s spray tanned–read: orange–carefully groomed, very attentive towards his hair, loves to dress up, wears guyliner, silver painted nails and pointy boots. Oh, and epaulettes! On the surface, Darian doesn’t appear to be very smart, but I thought differently of him. He has a way of seeing past the dark parts of life and manages to keep his optimism through anything. Truly, I envied him for said ability to figure out what really matters and for his courage to take on the world and not let it break him.

So, what do a bipolar depressive and a glitter pirate even have in common? How do a posh, clever and proper man and a seemingly shallow and simple man find common ground? Well, every single person around them would argue that they’re a poor fit, to say the least, but actually, they give each other exactly what they need. Darian has a way of helping Ash see through the fog, he shows him that he deserves a chance, and he’s brave enough to try to cope with Ash’s illness, because he sees it for what it is, respectively a part of his lover. Ash, on the other hand, makes Darian feel worthwhile, like there’s more to him than people initially see on the surface, he makes him feel special and wanted. Frankly, they make each other happy and they do, indeed, make a good fit.

I am so happy to have had the opportunity to read this beautiful book and I know I will re-read it many times in the future. I honestly do not have even one complaint towards Glitterland. The writing was wonderful, the MCs real and incredible, the secondary characters were great as well–in one word: AMAZING.

There you have it–my most honest and personal review. Through all the blabbering, I only wanted to make one thing clear... Everyone should give this book a chance. Seriously, go ahead and read it. I promise you won’t regret it!

Oh, I almost forgot. The recipe at the end was the cherry on top. Lie-kit. Lie-kit a lot, babes!