I thought this was going to be a depressing read that I trudged through because it was short and I sometimes feel obligated to bear witness to others’ pain. That was not at all the case. This book is gorgeous. It’s poetic and absolutely beautiful. There’s a recurring metaphor for suicidal thoughts that it just incredible. It’s funny and sad and really, really, really beautiful. It wasn’t that I didn’t think someone with a debilitating illness (in Lyndsey’s case, she has an extreme sensitivity to darkness that forces her to spend her life in total darkness) could be funny and brilliant and interesting, it’s just that I didn’t think a book solely about one particular illness would be…what it turned out to be. I was so very wrong.
I do really take issue with the emphasis placed both on the jacket and within the book on the transformative power of her relationship. Look, I can’t tell someone else what keeps them going or gives their life meaning. But this guy? The jacket says that ultimately the book is a love story. Between her and this guy! Not, like, her and the English language or something. This lukewarm, underwhelming guy who bails on her when she needs him because he needs a damn vacation, leaves her hanging with no particular warmth when she brings up living together, and rarely provides her any real reassurance about the state of their relationship, which she would understandably be very anxious about. I spent the whole book waiting for the turning point where it would turn into the advertised love story (not because I needed it to be that, just because it said it was that), only to end up completely incredulous that his big profound trait seems to have been that he simply didn’t dump her when she became disabled, and hung around unenthusiastically for the rest of the book. I tried to chalk this up to English dryness but was unable to. He honestly sounds like a dick. Photo-sensitivity or not, Anna Lyndsey brings a lot to the table, and I think she deserved better.