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Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue Paperback – September 29, 2015
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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Laura Davis, bestselling author of I Thought We’d Never Speak Again, co-author of The Courage To Heal, and founder of The Writer’s Journey
"I expected this collection to pull me into a maelstrom of darkness. Instead, story after story, I found myself surfacing into the light of appreciation and hope.”
Victoria Zackheim, author, playwright, and editor of He Said What?, For Keeps, and The Other Woman
"What a strong and searing light the writers in this amazing anthology shine on the thing we are so loathe to name. Depression and suicide grow in secrecy and darkness. What a feat to bathe them in understanding and humor."
Martha Frankel, author of Hats & Eyeglasses and director of The Woodstock Writers Festival
This is a brave book. No, this is a kick-ass, get outta my way, despair/misery/isolation,’ I'm gonna mess you up, depression’ tome. This book is a lifesaver. This book needs to go into the survivor/survival toolkit for every patient, friend, sister, husband, father, daughter, son, partner, neighbor, lover, kindergarten teacher, oncologist, nursing student, shopkeeper, artist, social worker, babysitter, the guy who fixes your car, his wife, the waitress at your favorite restaurant, your bartender, counselor. I challenge any of them, or you, or me, to feel alone with Amy Ferris's book in our pockets. This book belongs to all of us who have ever felt the pang of despair or the full blown crush of depression, or worried about someone precious who may be struggling this very very minute.”
Nina Gaby, editor of Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women, and psychiatric nurse practitioner
"It takes great courage to get up in the morning when depression has closed in. It also takes courage to tell the truth about what it feels like to have lost hope. These brave essayists decribe the darkness and their efforts, not always successful, to stare it down. By sharing their stories, they are making it a little easier for others to get up in the morning."
Suzanne Braun Levine, author of Inventing the Rest of Our Lives
"Shades of Blue is a courageous venture into the darkness, out of which we inevitably emerge with a newfound light. There will be a point while reading this book when the words come alive with the preciousness of life. It was like being invited into someone's darkness and witnessing it in all of its devastating beautyall its horror. It's a first-hand look into a beating heart. That sound of a heartbeat kept recurring as I readprobably my own. I felt pride and exhilaration for being alive. It was the very definition of inspiring. A tremendous gift."
Ana Surviladze, author of The Voice of a Falling Tree
You’re not alone is the grief-soaked message on every page . . . The contributors’ writing is often brilliant, and proves, at least, that depressionif confessed, illuminated, investigated, and sharedcan defeat denial, and begin to help us heal.”
Mimi Kennedy, actress and author of Taken to the Stage
A ground-breaking, raw, honest new book that dives headfirst into feeling blue, depression, and suicide. Yes, even suicide. Shades of Blue must quickly become required reading in high school, in college, at church, around the family dinner table, and wherever people that care about other people gather. Shades of Blue can help us heal that which needs healing.
Tom Zuba, author of Permission to Mourn: A New Way To Do Grief
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Also there is a poem included in this essay collection that is so amateurish it seems to have been written by an angsty highschooler; it simply does not belong alongside serious, heavyweight writers like Caroline Leavitt and Pam Houston.
This collection is riddled with typos (it's instead of its; heroine instead of heroin; Pittsburg instead of Pittsburgh, and a whole pile more) which was frustrating, and undercut some degree of authority behind this collection.
Depression affects millions of people worldwide, taking dozens of lives every day. When the weight of depression bears downward, existence can be just too much to bear. These very personal accounts of depression were both saddening and heartwarming: at times even uplifting, but sometimes not. With depression comes ups and downs but the downs can outweigh the happy times and overwhelm, eclipsing life’s joys and pleasures. This collection highlighted how personal depression is, with some depressions being brought on by historic abuse, both physical and emotional, infidelity with its feelings of rejection and worthlessness, grief, alcohol and drug abuse and many other triggers. I read each story one at a time and felt compassion and empathy with one and all. It took me a long time to read the entire collection. I came to the realisation that clinical depression was all encompassing, quite unlike the mild dissatisfaction with life and a slight case of ‘the blues’ that some people would consider depression. Depression is utterly crippling, unswerving in its incapacitation, odious and enshrouding.
Having completed the last case history as it were, I felt that my understanding of depression was much greater than before I started reading. I really admired those sufferers who were able to see the ‘silver linings’ and who accepted their illness with fortitude and determination. I would like to thank Netgalley and Seal Press for sending my copy to me in return for an honest review. Although I cannot honestly say that I enjoyed reading these really sad accounts of depression, I did feel that I was the richer for the knowledge I had gained throughout reading this anthology.
And, as heartbreaking by heart-making story is revealed in Ferris’ collection, the absence of color is illustrated in short, uneasy pieces that shift the earth ever-so-slightly so that readers can identify with the veracity of real people.
In a world where Facebook posts paint pictures of perfect lives, and Tweets inspire and invade abbreviated time and space, there exist snippets of conversations matched to unphoto-shopped images; the private colors of individuals whose world is sometimes dulled not only by environmental and genetic factors, but further clouded by the perpetuated stigma that accompanies the words ‘mental health’.
In social media we may see—then possibly ignore—pockets of posts which contain cries for help; people literally hanging on to and by ‘threads’. In Shades of Blue those threads become vignettes in which we can engage our whole selves in perfectly-sized bytes in order to begin to understand the full spectrum of life.
What makes it possible, therefore wonderful, to read about ‘stuff you wish would not happen to people’, is that Ferris edited Shades of Blue in manageable reads, each piece delivering a genuine experience. Through the courage of the contributors, readers are invited to experience their own brave and get public in order to save lives.