Thursday 2 March 2017

Review on Damage

Gabi is grief stricken after he grandfather dies. Her mother refuses to talk about him, and she doesn't want to weigh her friends down with her own burdens. The only thing that ever seems to take her mind off it is skateboarding at her local skate park. Soon, even this isn't a good enough distraction for Gabi, and she turns to self harm. Gabi's friends must help her through these upsetting times, and make he realise that she doesn't have to bare the burden alone, and it is okay to ask for help.

I always find it the most difficult to read and review book on sensitive subjects such as this one. This book focuses on self harm, an upsetting but important topic that shouldn't be ignored. It is a myth that young people self harm for attention, and a fact that many don't let their friends and families know they are self harming. Books like Damage are extremely important in helping people receive a more accurate interpretation of what it's like for young people who self harm.

The book focuses on Gabi, a fifteen year old who has recently lost her grandfather. Although the first few pages of the book did immediately draw me in, I did feel as if it was overall too spoilery, as it is actually a repetition of a chapter towards the end of the book. It is not difficult to work out what is about to happen, so I felt as if it was a little anti-climatic that half of the book was building up to an event that we already knew was going to happen. As the blurb on the back of the book mentions Gabi having a terrible secret, I wasn't too sure if revealing that secret to the reader in the first few pages was the best idea.

The book is split into two parts, with half of it focusing on Gabi's present life, and the other half on the build up to the death of Gabi's grandfather. I loved that I was equally interested in both parts of the story, as usually when this happens in books, I tend to prefer one story over the other. Although the main focus of the book is self harm, I loved that other important topics were also briefly dealt with, such as alcoholism, anxiety and depression. I loved Gabi's best friend, Amira, and as someone who has anxiety, she was the character who I related to the most. Amira is constantly worrying about little thing that to most people would seem trivial, but to people with anxiety can feel like the end of the world. I also loved the pre-party scene, as I know I would have reacted exactly like Amira in that situation.

Gabi is reluctant to let her friends and family know she is self harming. However, she does post on a self harm forum, and talks to strangers online who are going through the same thing as her. I loved that although she felt unable to tell anyone she knew, she did realise that she couldn't face her problems alone, and needed help. Talking to a stranger can often be easier than talking to a family member, so I loved how she was getting advise to seek help. However, the sad truth is that there are a lot of trolls online, who could do more harm than good, so although the forum did help Gabi, I felt as if it could easily have gone wrong, and people in a similar situation to Gabi should instead call a confidential helpline.

I loved that although Gabi assumed that her friends would judge her, that wasn't the case at all. They were extremely understanding, and tried to help her as best as they could. We all deal with grief in certain ways, but the most important thing to realise is we never have to suffer alone, as there is always help out there. I found it upsetting that Gabi's mother would shut down every time Gabi tried to talk to her about her grandfather, as I felt as if it would have been extremely beneficial for both of them to be able to talk about their problems.

One thing I didn't like too much was that the ending was rather ambiguous. Although it is up to the reader to be optimistic, I would have preferred it if the reader had been driven towards the direction of Gabi getting help. It is extremely important for readers who are self harming to see that there is help available, and I was a little disappointed that Gabi wasn't used as a better role model.

I loved that there were helplines and websites at the back of the book, and I feel as if any book that deals with important topics like this should include these. I have learnt a lot about self harm from reading this book, and think Eve Ainsworth has done a brilliant job writing on such a sensitive subject.

Damage is now available to purchase!

   | Amazon Book Depository 

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