I have just this moment finished Bryony Gordon’s Mad Girl, which I listened to on audiobook because despite my repeated proclamations that I am not going to stick with my Audible subscription, I keep forgetting to cancel it.
I read Bryony Gordon’s first book, The Wrong Knickers, a couple of years ago when I was going through a patch of reading memoirs by funny women, which was a pretty great reading phase. I loved it, it is laugh out loud funny, but after reading this I don’t see it in quite the same way. If you haven’t read either, I recommend reading both because they inform each other.
Mad Girl is a memoir of her experiences with mental illness, OCD, depression and bulimia, specifically. Somewhat unexpectedly, it’s still very funny, pretty pacy and not a completely overwhelming, intense read. I mean, it’s intense, there’s no getting around that, but it was still pretty easy to get through. She strikes a clever tone which allows her to be honest but also allows the reader to keep going.
It’s also just wonderfully honest, as she talks about mental illness completely unabashedly, which is really great to see. It’s wonderful that she’s part of the hopefully changing conversation about mental health, especially because her previous book doesn’t acknowledge everything that she was going through in this time, so she comes from the position of not talking about it. The very existence of the second book says something important, I think.
It is a representation of mental illness that I haven’t seen before, and I would recommend it particularly if you have someone in your life who suffers from mental illness and you want to try to understand it better, which is the position I’m in. If you suffer from it yourself, it might be triggering to be perfectly honest, but it also might give you hope.