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The Memory of Light

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16-year-old Vicky Cruz wakes up in a hospital's mental ward after a failed suicide attempt. Now she must find a path to recovery - and perhaps rescue some others along the way. When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn't be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the s 16-year-old Vicky Cruz wakes up in a hospital's mental ward after a failed suicide attempt. Now she must find a path to recovery - and perhaps rescue some others along the way. When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn't be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she's never had. But Vicky's newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending Vick back to the life that drove her to suicide, she must try to find her own courage and strength. She may not have them. She doesn't know. Inspired in part by the author's own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one - about living when life doesn't seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.


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16-year-old Vicky Cruz wakes up in a hospital's mental ward after a failed suicide attempt. Now she must find a path to recovery - and perhaps rescue some others along the way. When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn't be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the s 16-year-old Vicky Cruz wakes up in a hospital's mental ward after a failed suicide attempt. Now she must find a path to recovery - and perhaps rescue some others along the way. When Vicky Cruz wakes up in the Lakeview Hospital Mental Disorders ward, she knows one thing: After her suicide attempt, she shouldn't be alive. But then she meets Mona, the live wire; Gabriel, the saint; E.M., always angry; and Dr. Desai, a quiet force. With stories and honesty, kindness and hard work, they push her to reconsider her life before Lakeview, and offer her an acceptance she's never had. But Vicky's newfound peace is as fragile as the roses that grow around the hospital. And when a crisis forces the group to split up, sending Vick back to the life that drove her to suicide, she must try to find her own courage and strength. She may not have them. She doesn't know. Inspired in part by the author's own experience with depression, The Memory of Light is the rare young adult novel that focuses not on the events leading up to a suicide attempt, but the recovery from one - about living when life doesn't seem worth it, and how we go on anyway.

30 review for The Memory of Light

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    Somewhere in me I probably had the strength to not kill myself. But I was tired of looking for strength. Tired of being strong. That’s what I did to make it through… each day, go through the motions of being strong. I put on strong every morning. I’m sick of faking strong. I don't think a book has so personally affected me since I read This Song Will Save Your Life. This is one of those stories that is so raw and honest, so completely true, so completely unwilling to sell the neatly wrapped-u Somewhere in me I probably had the strength to not kill myself. But I was tired of looking for strength. Tired of being strong. That’s what I did to make it through… each day, go through the motions of being strong. I put on strong every morning. I’m sick of faking strong. I don't think a book has so personally affected me since I read This Song Will Save Your Life. This is one of those stories that is so raw and honest, so completely true, so completely unwilling to sell the neatly wrapped-up, romanticized version of mental illness and suicide that we see in books like All the Bright Places. It truly saddens me that this book will probably remain comparatively unread when every single person, whether they have struggled with depression or not, should read it. I'm always amazed how much we still don't really understand depression. I read books like Thirteen Reasons Why and see reviewers saying things like "she doesn't seem realistically suicidal" or "I'm sorry, but no one kills themselves because _____". Because reasons. People want them. Not only that, they also want good reasons. Why did you try to kill yourself? What's so bad about your life that you hate it so much? But real life just isn't like that. While I'm sure they do exist somewhere, I have never met, known, heard about, or read about anyone who attempted suicide for a clear-cut reason. If only it was just as simple as my mother died. I'm being abused. My partner cheated on me. It isn't usually like that. Depression doesn't need reasons because it's an illness that finds hopelessness and worthlessness in everything. It's been described as a thick fog, as wading through sludge, as a crushing weight. It's small things that build into an overwhelming sense of self-loathing. Depression can make you feel sad or angry or scared, but most of the time - it just makes you feel so damn tired. Tired of trying to be strong and happy. Tired of smiling and pretending. The Memory of Light captures all of that and more. Vicky's story is both a light in the darkness for teens suffering from depression and a shock of hard realism, the ending offering both hope and a punch to the gut. I read this book feeling like the author knew exactly what he was talking about and so the author's note at the end came as no surprise. This was written by someone who truly understands the illness and all the emotions and experiences that go with it. It's a diverse book, filled with many different kinds of people, skin colours and personalities. It will make you angry, and sad, and hopeful. I can't stop thinking about it. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube | Pinterest

  2. 4 out of 5

    Francisco

    Dear Goodreads Friend: The Memory of Light, published today, is the story of Vicky Cruz, a sixteen-year-old girl struggling to find a reason to continue living after a failed suicide attempt. Although Vicky endures many of the stresses normal to adolescence, her life is in many ways safe, comfortable and even privileged. Vicky, however, suffers from an organic, chemical, depression that is not caused by any obvious trauma or other external circumstance. The Memory of Light took a long time to wri Dear Goodreads Friend: The Memory of Light, published today, is the story of Vicky Cruz, a sixteen-year-old girl struggling to find a reason to continue living after a failed suicide attempt. Although Vicky endures many of the stresses normal to adolescence, her life is in many ways safe, comfortable and even privileged. Vicky, however, suffers from an organic, chemical, depression that is not caused by any obvious trauma or other external circumstance. The Memory of Light took a long time to write (four years) because I wanted the book to have the right tone, the proper balance of realism and hope. It was also at times difficult to write about an illness that has affected me most of my life. I needed to live in Vicky’s mind and still be able to climb out. What helped me through the writing process was the determination to write not about the effects of depression but about a young girl’s struggle to befriend life and her search for what makes life worth living. Vicky’s story is not about the downward spiral toward darkness, but about the much harder, much more hopeful and suspenseful steps toward light. Please forgive me for using this format to tell you about the book but I want to do what I can so that the book reaches those readers who may benefit from it. I have no intention of rating the book and I promise you that I will not read any reviews posted on this site. The book can be purchased in the usual places, but if you would like a copy with a personal dedication from me, you can order the book from http://store.wellesleybooks.com/. Please write the name for the dedication and any other message in the comments section as you check out. Below you will find links to some of the professional reviews that The Memory of Light has received. Thank you for all the support you have given me in the past and are giving me now. Francisco X. Stork Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review) https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-re... Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0... Booklist (Starred Review) http://www.booklistonline.com/The-Mem... School Library Journal (Starred Review) http://www.slj.com/2016/02/reviews/bo...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List Once again here is a book that I can relate to. I have clinical depression with suicidal thoughts, among a few other disorders. Vicky, the main character in the book, has depression and tried to kill herself. This lands her in Lakeview Hospital, supposedly just an overnight stay as her dad and stepmom want her to come home and get back to normal.. I hate that word.. normal. As if we can put our mental problems away and move right into normal... What is norma MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List Once again here is a book that I can relate to. I have clinical depression with suicidal thoughts, among a few other disorders. Vicky, the main character in the book, has depression and tried to kill herself. This lands her in Lakeview Hospital, supposedly just an overnight stay as her dad and stepmom want her to come home and get back to normal.. I hate that word.. normal. As if we can put our mental problems away and move right into normal... What is normal? Do you know how hard it is to go through every day trying to pretend like your not as bad as you are so that your family won't see too much.. so your doctor's will think your not too bad.. the world can see you as not so bad... it's easier to be this way when your behind a computer, no one can see you, can see how bad you truly are, even in real life people can't see how bad you truly are, you keep it hidden. Vicky kept her feelings hidden really good, even her sweet Nana (housekeeper) that took care of her for years didn't see it. Her father and stepmom wouldn't see anything if it slapped them in the face. Even Vicky's sister didn't see anything. We do that.. we don't want to be seen, we are not. Vicky meets a really nice doctor at the hospital, Dr. Desai, and she thinks Vicky should stay with them for a few weeks meeting some other kids that have issues like she does. She doesn't think she needs to go back home so soon and tells her it's her decision to stay and she will help with her dad and stepmother. Vicky does meet some wonderful friends in the hospital, they all tried to kill themselves or close to it. There is funny Mona who is Vicky's roommate, Gabriel, who is really sweet and tries to keep it all together for everyone else and E.M. who has anger issues, but is a good guy. They are all good kids. I loved these characters. The call ends. I lie there for I don't know how long, my hand on the telephone, as if I'm afraid to let go of the voice that flowed through it. It is possible, I realize, to have people in your life who love you and who you love, and to still want to kill yourself. It's almost as if part of the reason you're doing it is for them, because you are not worthy of their love, and you want to stop being a burden to them, contaminating their lives with your moodiness and grumpiness and miserableness. I feel Juanita's love now. I even feel Galileo's love. And it makes me feel so much worse. Vicky and her friends seem to find themselves in the book but then a few go downhill and there are some sad things that go down. Vicky finds her strength because of these friends and her doctor and helps so many people and finds herself. She is not cured, but she is managing. I think the author did a wonderful job with this book and I cried when I read his "author's note" at the end of the book. I always read the author's note, especially in these kinds of books because there is usually a story there. The author also lists suicide numbers and information at the end. These things are very important. Fin

  4. 4 out of 5

    sunny

    2.75???? Well this was....okay?? This started off so well and I actually like it, but then all of a sudden....it just got boring??? Istg this happens every time I read a depressing contemporary. They all start off good, but end up bleh for me. WHY DON'T CONTEMPORARIES WORK OUT FOR ME???? ugh y'all it's so damn frustrating because I wanted to freaking love this book. -First thing: this book does not "love will make you better" a mental illness. *DIVERSITYYY !!!! we have Mexican and Indian character 2.75???? Well this was....okay?? This started off so well and I actually like it, but then all of a sudden....it just got boring??? Istg this happens every time I read a depressing contemporary. They all start off good, but end up bleh for me. WHY DON'T CONTEMPORARIES WORK OUT FOR ME???? ugh y'all it's so damn frustrating because I wanted to freaking love this book. -First thing: this book does not "love will make you better" a mental illness. *DIVERSITYYY !!!! we have Mexican and Indian characters and just how cool is that. -There is no romance. Which is pretty rare. -Uhhhhhhhh it's honestly a great book, but just not for me. I swear sometimes I wonder where the fuck my heart is. Anyways I hate myself because I can never love a damn contemporary and you should read this awesome book because it's amazing and worth it. --- hmmm this sounds really good

  5. 4 out of 5

    ♛ may

    I’ve been trying to write a review for this book from the day I finished it but I’ve realized that every time I try and put this book into words, I just show how inadequate I am as a reviewer ((plus, the book doesn’t deserve that)), so I’ll just run through some of the topics that are covered ((hopefully this won’t be a tragedy)) Reasons why this Book will Mend your Soul - Accurate representation of depression/anxiety etc. - Friendship - So much bloody friendship - Kids with problems - Diversity I’ve been trying to write a review for this book from the day I finished it but I’ve realized that every time I try and put this book into words, I just show how inadequate I am as a reviewer ((plus, the book doesn’t deserve that)), so I’ll just run through some of the topics that are covered ((hopefully this won’t be a tragedy)) Reasons why this Book will Mend your Soul - Accurate representation of depression/anxiety etc. - Friendship - So much bloody friendship - Kids with problems - Diversity - Kids with problems who are friends with kids with problems - No judgement - Tears - Bloody tears - No “love saves all” - In fact, theres no romance - The explanations of depression are so spot on dammit - I imagine a whole bunch of little minerlike elves who live and work inside the dark tunnels of my brain…They are happy workers…except when the yellowpurple fog of depression comes in. It’s so thick and viscous that the wheels of the carts gum up and the elves can’t breathe. So they struggle, struggle, huff and puff, as they try to push the carts with the messages...the elves get tired and grumpy and sore and frustrated, and they start dumping messages of gloom and doom in the cart, which for some reason are easier to lug. - Gabriel My Sweet Cinnamonroll - Honestly this book just reaches out and tugs through heartstrings - It lets you see mental illness for what it is – an illness and not a deficiency on your part - I would literally encourage every human being to read this book - Its so dismal and emotional and sad but sometimes you just need something to get you and tell you its okay to feel that way – we all have bad days - But not to let it consume your life and think less of yourself - Okay im gonna start crying again - Read the bloody book – I don’t think anyone will regret it “You are not the clouds or even the blue sky where clouds live. You are the sun behind them, giving light to all, and the sun is made up of goodness and kindness and light.” 5 stars!! Late buddy read with Amy

  6. 4 out of 5

    JV (semi-hiatus)

    As someone who's constantly wrestling his own inner demons, this book resonated so much. Stork writes with sensitivity, accuracy, and insight into depression, suicide, mental illness, and recovery. It's a realistic portrayal of what goes inside the mind of those struggling and fighting their own war — being bombarded by uncontrollable thoughts, pierced by emptiness and hopelessness, and wounded by overwhelming emotions. What I love about this novel is that Stork steers clear of any romanticizati As someone who's constantly wrestling his own inner demons, this book resonated so much. Stork writes with sensitivity, accuracy, and insight into depression, suicide, mental illness, and recovery. It's a realistic portrayal of what goes inside the mind of those struggling and fighting their own war — being bombarded by uncontrollable thoughts, pierced by emptiness and hopelessness, and wounded by overwhelming emotions. What I love about this novel is that Stork steers clear of any romanticization regarding mental illness. Instead, he tackles these mental health issues with fearless yet respectful honesty despite the fact that it still hurts while reading it. The writing is simple, clear, and realistic. I love the Latinx representation from different socioeconomic backgrounds, the camaraderie of Vicky, Gabriel, Mona, and E.M, their relationship with Dr. Desai and the family dynamics. The introspection of these complex characters and the way they support each other even though they can barely support their individual selves are cathartic to read. Mental health is an essential part of our overall health, and it's time that we should all be aware of it and combat the stigma and prejudice that comes with mental illness. "We are all mental in our own peculiar ways, all grasping on to hurtful mangos that keep us imprisoned. The world is full of Gwendolyns and Jaimes and Cecys and Vickys, and we should know that we are ill and be kind to one another." My heartfelt gratitude to Mr. Stork for writing this compelling novel and sharing Vicky's heartbreaking story and her path towards recovery. Amidst the dreadful shade that I'm trying to fight every day, I'll forever treasure the light that this book has shown me. "Green is for life that is all around us." TW: depression, suicide, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, drug addiction

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    2.5 to 3 Stars Buddy read with the amazing Kaylin! Sorry for ditching you, babe LOL 😂 After I finished this book, I was looking through some of my friend's reviews for The Memory of Light and I came across my wife's review and she couldn't have phrased it better. I 100% agree with everything she says so go read her review (I'm lazy to write a review right now and her's perfectly explains everything I felt when reading and when I finished 😀 I was actually immensely disappointed in this book, so her 2.5 to 3 Stars Buddy read with the amazing Kaylin! Sorry for ditching you, babe LOL 😂 After I finished this book, I was looking through some of my friend's reviews for The Memory of Light and I came across my wife's review and she couldn't have phrased it better. I 100% agree with everything she says so go read her review (I'm lazy to write a review right now and her's perfectly explains everything I felt when reading and when I finished 😀 I was actually immensely disappointed in this book, so here's to hoping my next read is going to be way better 👍

  8. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    One of the most thorough and realistic accounts of depression I have ever read. Francisco Stork captures the difficult beginnings of recovery from a mental illness through Vicky Cruz, a young woman who tried to die by suicide after the death of her own mother. Vicky ends up at Lakeview Hospital, where she meets Dr. Desai, a kind therapist, as well as a group of friends who accept her more than almost anyone else in her life. At Lakeview, Vicky gains some of the tools to survive: now she just nee One of the most thorough and realistic accounts of depression I have ever read. Francisco Stork captures the difficult beginnings of recovery from a mental illness through Vicky Cruz, a young woman who tried to die by suicide after the death of her own mother. Vicky ends up at Lakeview Hospital, where she meets Dr. Desai, a kind therapist, as well as a group of friends who accept her more than almost anyone else in her life. At Lakeview, Vicky gains some of the tools to survive: now she just needs to apply them when she goes back home, to the place where it all began. Stork writes with understated strength in The Memory of Light. He avoids many of the flashy YA cliches - sappy romance, too-quirky characters, romanticizing mental illness - and instead crafts a sincere story about what it takes to want to live again. I appreciated Vicky's quiet fortitude, all of the characters' authentic dialogue, and the book's diversity of race, SES, and emotional well-being. As someone who has fought with and recovered from an eating disorder and PTSD, I loved the takeaway message: that you can feel your feelings, no matter how awful they are, and still come out stronger and wiser in the end. The book did have some issues. The bond between Vicky, E.M., Mona, and Gabriel felt a bit disjointed because of the plot's somewhat uncouth progression. One character's maturation (view spoiler)[Becca's (hide spoiler)] happened super fast, which, while possible, came across as rushed. Despite these minor problems, Stork balances a lot of heavy material in The Memory of Light, and for the most part he does it well. Overall, a moving novel about a young woman's path to recovery from mental illness. I would recommend it to anyone interested in YA contemporary fiction and/or mental health. Thank you to Francisco Stork and other YA authors, for leading the charge in normalizing these issues and bringing hope to readers everywhere.

  9. 4 out of 5

    amy ☂︎

    hi don't let me discourage you from reading this book. i read it at a time where i was almost too depressed to function, and hearing the mc describing what its like to be depressed, it just..... was more than i could handle at that time. i would love to get back to this, i do, but it just reminds me of tough times and dark thoughts and i'd rather not go there again. hi don't let me discourage you from reading this book. i read it at a time where i was almost too depressed to function, and hearing the mc describing what its like to be depressed, it just..... was more than i could handle at that time. i would love to get back to this, i do, but it just reminds me of tough times and dark thoughts and i'd rather not go there again.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)

    This says some really important things in some really beautiful and profound ways, but I'm not sure there was enough substance. RTC -------------------------------- BR with the lovely Alyssa! ❤️ Been seeing great things about this one recently! This says some really important things in some really beautiful and profound ways, but I'm not sure there was enough substance. RTC -------------------------------- BR with the lovely Alyssa! ❤️ Been seeing great things about this one recently!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelsi

    It's hard to write a review for a book like this, because it means so much to me personally. I'm not talking about how much I loved the book, I'm talking about how much this book spoke to me. How much I could relate to it. If you haven't struggled with depression, it's hard to understand it. That's what makes it so hard for people who are struggling with it, because the people around them either don't understand it or why you yourself are depressed. I think I speak for many people struggling with It's hard to write a review for a book like this, because it means so much to me personally. I'm not talking about how much I loved the book, I'm talking about how much this book spoke to me. How much I could relate to it. If you haven't struggled with depression, it's hard to understand it. That's what makes it so hard for people who are struggling with it, because the people around them either don't understand it or why you yourself are depressed. I think I speak for many people struggling with depression by saying that it's hard to fight by yourself. That, every time you want to let it out, you're afraid you'll be judged, that the people around you, your family and friends, will judge you. So you keep it in, and that only makes it worse. In the dark pit of depression, you've never felt more alone. It's incredibly sad, isn't it? And yet, it's true. For countless people, they're alone in this fight. That's why you need to read this book. Even people who haven't struggled with depression, you need to read this. Because in a beautiful future, maybe less people will be alone in this fight. With more people to understand what people with depression go through, there will be more support, less judgment. More understanding, less misunderstanding. For people struggling with depression: Read this book. Stephanie Perkins is right, this book can indeed save your life. You'll also, hopefully, feel less alone. Because you're not. It's not hard to realize when someone's went through depression. Reading this book, you'll spot those familiar feelings. Hopelessness, self-loathing, a numbness to life. The feeling that life isn't worth living. It's all there. For once, there is a book that you can relate to. One that will make you shed a tear or two at the raw, painful truth of its words. Because you've been through it yourself. You know how it feels. Here is a beautiful book that everyone needs to read. And that is all I'll say.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    I am sure this is a very important book on a very important topic, but I feel like I've already read this story before, and not once. I am sure this is a very important book on a very important topic, but I feel like I've already read this story before, and not once.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    4.5 stars So how will I convince you guys to give this book a try? I'm seriously saddened by the fact that only 1,260 people have read The Memory of Light on Goodreads. I can perfectly understand why people don't gravitate to books like this, but it bothers me that such a raw and honest account of depression would be missed out by a lot of contemporary readers. The last time a book has hit me this hard, was back when I've read Schmidt's Orbiting Jupiter; and while these two novels are highly dif 4.5 stars So how will I convince you guys to give this book a try? I'm seriously saddened by the fact that only 1,260 people have read The Memory of Light on Goodreads. I can perfectly understand why people don't gravitate to books like this, but it bothers me that such a raw and honest account of depression would be missed out by a lot of contemporary readers. The last time a book has hit me this hard, was back when I've read Schmidt's Orbiting Jupiter; and while these two novels are highly different, their subdued and quiet tone makes them poignant and unforgettable in a way that veers far from melodramatic and soap-opera-ish works. The Memory of Light, in my opinion, is such a great book because it depicts depression and mental illness with hard realism, yet offers a sliver of hope, to make a balance between light and dark. This is the kind of story that doesn't give you a romanticized version of mental illness, yet it never goes overboard to what goodreaders call "tragedy porn" where every single chapter is filled with tragic and heartbreaking events. I also find the plot's focus on Mexican-Americans interesting. Rarely, do we see Mexicans as main characters in YA novels, and the good thing is, the author used them in such a way that didn't feel forced. They're not there just for the sake of racial diversity and representation. They're all unique characters, dealing with different personal demons, and seeing them suffer breaks your heart a little. The magic in The Memory of Light is its ability to make you root for the characters, at a pace that feels realistic and subtle. Their day to day interactions will sneak up on you and by the novel's end, you'll realize that the characters are with you now. In your heart. One character in particular caught my attention, among the four of them. It was Gabriel. He's a character in YA that I rarely see around, and he was my favorite. I love his gentle-nature and genuine kindness. Most YA characters already fall under cliches and tropes, but there's something about Gabriel, that crossed the goody-two shoes trope. You'll understand why I find him well-rounded and interesting as a character, if you read this novel. Props to the lack of romance and sex too. It's refreshing to see teenagers who are not caught up in kissing and sex. It's kinda tiring, seeing lots of books with teenagers under overly-sexualized conditions. This is not the case with this novel. It managed to be unique in its characterization yet not unrealistic. All in all, this book is too good to be anything lower than 5 stars. I only knocked out a half star because I thought the dynamics between the four of them could've been made stronger and more emotional. The novel's subdued tone made some parts, a bit lacking in emotion and this resulted to a lack of climax that could've otherwise made it an even stronger read. I wanted to see more touching moments in their interactions that would make the emotional blow even harder. But then again, we're seeing the story from the pov of a person suffering from depression. It might've been a deliberate decision on the author's part to portray the story in this way to make it as realistic as possible. So I guess this is only a subjective remark. Objectively, it's a 5-star worthy book. Seriously. Just go ahead and read it. I have no words. I'm glad to find my first 5 star book of the year.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    I was excited to receive this book when I won it some time ago, as the premise sounded very interesting and, yes, I was sold on the cover, too:-) The story centers around Vicky, who has just attempted to commit suicide. This book focused on the aftermath of such a decision, and the fact that someone who had nothing she felt she could live for, must learn to exist in the world. Stork's characterizations are really the heart of this novel. Vicky and the other characters she meets at her rehab hosp I was excited to receive this book when I won it some time ago, as the premise sounded very interesting and, yes, I was sold on the cover, too:-) The story centers around Vicky, who has just attempted to commit suicide. This book focused on the aftermath of such a decision, and the fact that someone who had nothing she felt she could live for, must learn to exist in the world. Stork's characterizations are really the heart of this novel. Vicky and the other characters she meets at her rehab hospital, are far from black and white and neither does the author dip into too many cliches. I think it comes through in a very thoughtful way that the author has dealt with similar issues in his own life, as is stated in the book's summary. He goes about his exploration of depression and how it affects every aspect of life in a slow, introspective manner, which, I felt, at times was a little repetitive and kept the book from moving at the pace I wanted. But overall, this seems appropriate to the subject he is discussing and the manner in which he chose to do it. I think this is a good book for anyone to read, who wants to understand the thoughts of someone suffering from depression. It's not moodiness, it's not laziness, it's not made up. It's a real disease that one should learn about and take seriously, so we can learn how to support those and better understand those suffering. For that, I would certainly recommend this novel. I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway, and have written what I think is a fair and fitting review. Thanks! Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  15. 5 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    Grade: C- Writing, characters, depiction of mental illness: A Realistic treatment, therapy: F From the first page, I was swept up into Francisco X Stork's beautiful, almost poetic descriptions of depression through Vicky's gorgeous narration. I actually felt like I was inside Vicky's skin, experiencing the dearth of her lows, the hopelessness of her existence. Stork, I thought, is someone who not only understands the feelings, but can giftedly bring the reader along for the ride. The characters were Grade: C- Writing, characters, depiction of mental illness: A Realistic treatment, therapy: F From the first page, I was swept up into Francisco X Stork's beautiful, almost poetic descriptions of depression through Vicky's gorgeous narration. I actually felt like I was inside Vicky's skin, experiencing the dearth of her lows, the hopelessness of her existence. Stork, I thought, is someone who not only understands the feelings, but can giftedly bring the reader along for the ride. The characters were well rounded and depicted different types of mental illness realistically. Dr Desai had some positive points, but her utter lack of confidentiality, boundaries and ethics made her a big disappointment. As the story progressed, I overlooked that adults and minors were on the same psychiatric ward, I don't mind a little creative license. The more the story veered from not only the psychologically ethical, the HIPAA violations etc, but also legally prohibited, lapses in credulity started to annoy me. Psych patients aren't usually permitted to travel unsupervised to a patient's home for a birthday celebration and under no school of thought could a psychiatrist have patients come stay, barely supervised, as her ranch as part of "therapy" especially with the blessing of insurance companies which will barely pay for a patient for 5 days after a suicide attempt. I could give example after example, but I don't want to give away the plot. I loved the multicultural and economic class aspect of the story and the cultural biases of mental illness in different segments of society. THEMES: depression, mental illness, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, suicide, death, grief, family Mr Stork could have told an equally compelling story staying within the bounds of realistic treatment for depression, which would have made THE MEMORY OF LIGHT a better read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Célia Loureiro

    "This strange feeling of not belonging, this sense that every task, even the smallest one, is unpleasant and requires effort - this is how my days will be here." This book pierced me in places I had forgotten about. I had forgotten that it is possible to forget how it's like to be you. Depression does that for people. Back in 2014, shortly after my cat disappeared and I moved into an apartment alone, I was stroke with depression. It wasn't my first, but it was the first time I named i "This strange feeling of not belonging, this sense that every task, even the smallest one, is unpleasant and requires effort - this is how my days will be here." This book pierced me in places I had forgotten about. I had forgotten that it is possible to forget how it's like to be you. Depression does that for people. Back in 2014, shortly after my cat disappeared and I moved into an apartment alone, I was stroke with depression. It wasn't my first, but it was the first time I named it that way, and it got pretty serious. It stood around until about 2016. Only in January 2016 did I quit medication and started feeling like myself again. Sorry for making the review sound personal, I'll eventually get to the part in which I praise kind and loving Francisco X. Stork, who was writing the book at the time, for having had the bravery to touch his own wounds and dig into these themes. Also, I am amazed at how someone who's lived through so much was capable of writing a novel with this voice - such purity in his view of the world that I almost forgot it wasn't a teenager, but an experienced writer and gentleman, the hand behind it. Thank you, Francisco, for throwing this rope to young people, and for explaining so well that having a mental disease is like living life in the hard mode, with everyone telling you that they'd enjoy it better than you. And that the world isn't so awful, maybe your brain is forcing to see it through the goggles of depression. "The brokeness out there seems so much greater than the strenght and life given to us." So, back to my experience with depression, to which I've been open about in the past... I didn't know the nature of that sadness when I was 18, but somehow I was able to reset my mind and produce happy thoughts, listened to joyful songs, moved on from what was holding me to the ground. In 2014 I was firstly hurt by the disappearance of my cat. You might say it was just a cat, but pets are never just animals, and you put your heart, your responsibility, sometimes the love you're not able to share with others into the care of that little creature. And the world is cruel and takes it away with no warning. Then I found myself alone after growing up in a house full of people and noise, without a care in the world for the first time ever. And the weight of the world started to lean on my shoulders and my chest. Anxiety, later on panic attacks. Not being able of keeping the tears from falling in public places, for instance. First I'd cry once a week, only at things that would cause me pain. Soon even beauty, besides animal cruelty, ignorance, prejudice, bad weather, everything would be an excuse to cry. I lost the ability of controlling the tears; they were there several times a week, then every day. Weekends alone were dreadful. My friends were way too young and focused in their own lives - as you should be when you're 23 - to fully acknowledge my aching. And yet some of them managed to understand the seriousness of it and to help me out. "Is it possible to be loved and not to feel loved? Isn't love supposed to be felt by the beloved?" Taking medication wasn't easy. It put me to sleep all day long. I could've lost my friends, my job, the support from my family, for I wasn't me anymore. Everything bothered me or left me upset or made me cry. People said they felt like they weren't allowed to smile or express happiness next to me. I reached rock-bottom, and them climbed all the way back up through months of apathy, tiredness, sleepiness and dizziness from the medication. I had to face the prejudice of going to see a Psychiatrist - everybody was telling me good thoughts and keeping busy would solve it for me. I should stay away from 'taking chemicals". My loved ones made me feel like I was damaged. They didn't realize it this way. You see, besides depression there was anxiety and panic attacks. These last two are kind of hard to ignore, or to fight off with happy thoughts. Right as I write this review, the fire of anxiety is burning in my chest. It's like my lungs can't catch enough air. I'm at peace. Got nowhere else to go. The room is fresh and the book I just finished was good. But the physiology in me is full alert mode, sirens' on, telling me to rush, to run, to worry. It's also taking my breath away. Don't expect happy twists and endings. When you have a mental disease, I agree you see the world from a different angle. Maybe you feel things more deeply, all the way down to the layer of your skin where it starts to hurt. Maybe you feel lonely and not fully understood. People who you love will address to you as if somehow this is a weakness of yours, a choice, a trait of softness. As if it is your responsibility that you feel this way. They won't want to hear it, because they believe speaking of it summons the thing with more intensity. Ignore it and it'll go away, as if to say. People will surely let you down, because no one is prepared to deal with others acting against what's normal due to mental illness or limitations. No one is ready to see you acting as being other than you. But one thing this book also reminded me, and I needed this reminder: depression may be chemical, physical, physiological, mental, emotional and clinical. But the environment you're in is always - I guess - a trigger to it. The way the author wrapped Vicky's reality shows it pretty well. It's the hidden things, the silenced things; non processed pain, feelings, suppressed will and going against yourself that will possibly get you ill. Vicky was a sensitive girl in a toxic environment, and it doesn't require domestic violence, or poverty, or starvation and filth for once to feel like there's a toxic fog around her. She was frustrated, silenced; she had given up on explaining herself or being heard and understood. She felt lonely and awkward in her circumstances, in her own home. You can't feel alienated from your relatives, your own space, and not become somehow ill. Also, the pressure I believe to be an American thing - such competition from such young age... I mean, what for? What's made of cooperation? It sounds sick to me that a parent would see financial success and prosperity as the only way to grant his children happiness. That's not even a need... A need would be love and care. I relate to Vicky, for I'd never survive with a sane mind in a society which expects me to compete with others at all times. This is a novel about friendship and overcoming monumental obstacles - obstacles that only you aknowledge. About the little things you can do to help others. About the absolute necessity of making yourself clear and listen to others. Maybe that's all they need: that someone else stops pushing their idea of happiness and health on them, so that they can foresee a future and a happiness of their own. So thank you, Francisco. You trully are a gentle soul. I'll write you an e-mail telling you what's so special about having finished this book today.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura Resau

    Wow. Such an honest and completely engaging account of depression. I loved the characters and was moved by the supportive friendships formed. So much goodness and earnestness and tenderness and rawness and love in this story. I wouldn't be surprised if this book ends up saving lives... and making lives feel more livable. Highly recommended to everyone, and especially those who are living with mental illness or any kind of psychological/emotional challenges. Wow. Such an honest and completely engaging account of depression. I loved the characters and was moved by the supportive friendships formed. So much goodness and earnestness and tenderness and rawness and love in this story. I wouldn't be surprised if this book ends up saving lives... and making lives feel more livable. Highly recommended to everyone, and especially those who are living with mental illness or any kind of psychological/emotional challenges.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    I blurbed this book I loved it so much. An honest look at mental illness and the challenges of "after" -- what happens when you've hit rock bottom and need to crawl out? This story features a Latina main character, it's set in Austin, Texas, and it's frank and real without a hint of romanticizing the pain that is depression. So, so good. I blurbed this book I loved it so much. An honest look at mental illness and the challenges of "after" -- what happens when you've hit rock bottom and need to crawl out? This story features a Latina main character, it's set in Austin, Texas, and it's frank and real without a hint of romanticizing the pain that is depression. So, so good.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Eve

    Yeesh. You know when you complete a book, say you're going to write a review the next day, and then two weeks later you haven't written anything and can't remember why the book was so bad except that it was cheesy and unrealistic and bothered the hell out of you? Note - I am not making light of depression/suicide. I am aware of the seriousness of these topics. I feel like The Memory of Light had a good backbone, and a good story outline. But the..... unsophisticated writing style/unnatural dialog Yeesh. You know when you complete a book, say you're going to write a review the next day, and then two weeks later you haven't written anything and can't remember why the book was so bad except that it was cheesy and unrealistic and bothered the hell out of you? Note - I am not making light of depression/suicide. I am aware of the seriousness of these topics. I feel like The Memory of Light had a good backbone, and a good story outline. But the..... unsophisticated writing style/unnatural dialogue/white bread characters destroyed the entire thing. Save your money on this. Stork, I respect you for sharing your sort of kind of based-on-your-real-life-events story , but unfortunately, I was unable to connect to the characters or to the sort of kind of based-on-real-life-events story. Luckily, I was able to follow up with WE ARE THE ANTS - a fantastic novel that I would recommend a million bajillion times! Sigh. Ya cant win 'em all.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    I feel so bad giving this kind of book a low rating, especially when I understand what the author was trying to achieve, and it was a powerful and admirable feat. He was giving people who have mental illnesses the guidance they need to overcome their disorder. And he did send some great messages about how life is worth living and you shouldn't give in to the dark voice that will eventually lead to suicide… But the bottom line is this book was really boring. It felt like I was reading a textbook ab I feel so bad giving this kind of book a low rating, especially when I understand what the author was trying to achieve, and it was a powerful and admirable feat. He was giving people who have mental illnesses the guidance they need to overcome their disorder. And he did send some great messages about how life is worth living and you shouldn't give in to the dark voice that will eventually lead to suicide… But the bottom line is this book was really boring. It felt like I was reading a textbook about depression. Which would be fine, except I couldn't connect with the main character, Vicky. She talked to psychiatrists and her close friends about her depression and explained how it made her feel…but I never got to see her in a situation where her depression affected her. Reading from her point of view was like reading a Wikipedia page on depression. I expected it to be an emotionally informative book like Living Dead Girl or Little Peach. I expected it to make me cry and tear my heart out. This book got the information part right - it helped me understand how depression worms its way into a lonely or downhearted person's mind - but the emotional response I prepared myself for? I got nothing. I really appreciated all the advice the author offered to fight depression and how supportive Vicky's friends were of her. The author showed Vicky being pressured to act like someone she wasn't every day in her life and the high expectations her family placed on her, which eventually escalated into depression and Vicky trying to kill herself. Maybe this book will have a greater effect on readers who have personally gone through the same struggles as Vicky, but I think I made the mistake of going into it expecting a different kind of story. It sent some great messages, for sure, but over all the plot and characters never had me enticed.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Klein

    I'm just going to put Stephanie Perkins's blurb here: "This book can save your life." I'm just going to put Stephanie Perkins's blurb here: "This book can save your life."

  22. 5 out of 5

    lily ☁️

    ➳ 2 1/2 stars I really wish The Memory of Light could have been a four-star read at the very least—if nothing else, because of the accurate and unflinchingly honest portrayal of depression—but sadly, it was not to be. There are a few aspects of this book that I enjoyed, but after a five-star worthy beginning that spanned maybe three chapters, I got bored and detached from the storyline. The subsequent chapters of The Memory of Light never quite managed to reach the heights of magnificence of its f ➳ 2 1/2 stars I really wish The Memory of Light could have been a four-star read at the very least—if nothing else, because of the accurate and unflinchingly honest portrayal of depression—but sadly, it was not to be. There are a few aspects of this book that I enjoyed, but after a five-star worthy beginning that spanned maybe three chapters, I got bored and detached from the storyline. The subsequent chapters of The Memory of Light never quite managed to reach the heights of magnificence of its first chapters again, or recapture my interest. I think my issues with this book can mainly be traced back to the pacing, which felt off to me, the mediocre writing, and the fact that a few storylines were wrapped up hastily, which led to an ending that felt rushed and unsatisfactory. I any case, The Memory of Light ended up being a very disappointing read for me. Blog | Bloglovin’ | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter

  23. 5 out of 5

    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨

    Note: review has trigger warnings for suicide Often when we read books about mental illness, we follow the trajectory and development of an individual's experience with mental illness. The Memory of Light offers something a little different; rather than looking at the events preceding a traumatic event or exploring the age-old question of 'what drives a person to take their own life?', The Memory of Light explores its aftermath. The Memory of Light explores something we need to see more of in youn Note: review has trigger warnings for suicide Often when we read books about mental illness, we follow the trajectory and development of an individual's experience with mental illness. The Memory of Light offers something a little different; rather than looking at the events preceding a traumatic event or exploring the age-old question of 'what drives a person to take their own life?', The Memory of Light explores its aftermath. The Memory of Light explores something we need to see more of in young-adult fiction: recovery. I think there is a curiosity of how mental illness is experienced. There is so much emphasis on prognosis, on symptoms, on how mental illness pervades all areas of our life. That's not a bad thing at all though; I think curiosity stems from our desire to understand. And yet, we hear often how recovery is one of, if not the, most difficult parts of mental illness. Recovery is a rocky road filled with uncertainty, doubt, despair, and relapse, but also moments of hope, determination, bravery, and exceptional strength. The Memory of Light portrays just that: it is about Vicky, our Latina protagonist, who has just tried to take her own life. Following her hospitalization and admission to psychiatric care, Vicky is faced with the colossal question of what now? The answers are vast and seemingly impossible to answer. This dark thing, I now know, is my depression. It is something I need to get to know, understand, tame if possible, but I don't quite have the strength or knowledge to handle it yet. It has gone into hiding these past few days because I had help --- it's been five against one. And yet, in the hands of Stork's understated and wonderful writing, The Memory of Light sets out to answer this question and does so with sincerity and sensitivity without fear of asking the difficult questions. The Memory of Light is indeed very emotional and heartbreaking, particularly when we delve into Vicky's memories and learn, retrospectively, why she made the decision to end her life. However, as well as its sadder moments, The Memory of Light is filled with tender moments that were heartwarming and beautiful. There is struggle, there are obstacles, but there are small victories and moments of daring hope. What I loved about The Memory of Light was that it presented depression and suicide in a frank, thorough and honest way. But rather than portray a 'gritty' mental illness book that tries to achieve realism with hardhitting terrible things, Stork shows us a multifaceted and complex journey of recovery with the good and bad. The Memory of Light explores a variety of themes, all equally important and integral to an individual's experience with mental illness. From Vicky learning and undergoing the process of understanding more about her mental illness (and thus also herself), to the relationships that she develops with her therapist - the kind and wise Dr. Desai - and the other teenagers in the hospital, to her well-meaning but strict family. (There is also no romance in this story.) Stork's exploration of Vicky's relationship with her family was one of my favourite parts of the book. It was just such a raw, honest, and realistic portrayal of a family who mean well, want what is best for their loved one, but are absolutely terrified. I've talked about how, as a society, we are still developing a vocabulary for mental illness, and how the lack of one can induce paralysis and, sometimes, negative and unhelpful perceptions and responses. In The Memory of Light, I saw a parent who struggled to understand Vicky's mental illness - not because they were a terrible parent or a terrible person, but because they genuinely did not know what to do. Indeed, it was hurtful to see the effects their attitudes had on Vicky, but it's a struggle that many teenagers face and endure; seeing it from Vicky's perspective was heartbreaking but powerful and necessary. You are not the clouds or even the blue sky where clouds live. You are the sun behind them, giving light to all, and the sun is made up of goodness and kindness and life. The Memory of Light is one of the most beautiful and raw books about mental illness that I have ever read. It was no surprise that The Memory of Light was an ownvoices book, and was based on the author's experiences with depression. The Memory of Light is poignant, heartbreaking, and so beautiful. Even though death has a heavy presence in the book, it is also the small voice in the dark - it is hope, it is life, it is beauty. Rating: 5 / 5 - Is this book for you? Premise in a sentence: After surviving a suicide attempt, a teen is institutionalized and learns how to live. Perfect for: Readers who are interested in depression, and readers who want a genuine representation of depression. Genre: Young adult, contemporary Recommended? Yes, if the trigger warnings below won't harm you and don't mind a sombre read. Book trigger/content warnings: suicide, depression, death and discussions of death, drug abuse, kidnapping - This review can also be found on my book blog, Read, Think, Ponder!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    After finishing The Memory of Light, I was at a loss to explain how it had affected me. So, I wrote a perhaps too-poetic post on Facebook: "Reading The Memory of Light felt like becoming aware of a tight little bud in my chest which, page by page, unfolded, plainly and without expectation of praise, as all flowers must. It's an unglamorous and gorgeous book." Then a friend asked me, with trepidation, if given her family history, she should read this book. So I was more direct in my reply: "Yes. After finishing The Memory of Light, I was at a loss to explain how it had affected me. So, I wrote a perhaps too-poetic post on Facebook: "Reading The Memory of Light felt like becoming aware of a tight little bud in my chest which, page by page, unfolded, plainly and without expectation of praise, as all flowers must. It's an unglamorous and gorgeous book." Then a friend asked me, with trepidation, if given her family history, she should read this book. So I was more direct in my reply: "Yes. It's written for teens, with the hope that they might recognize depression as an illness, and also, get a view of what recovery looks like. That said, it's fiction, so its power is in the characters, in whom you totally believe and care about. I was a tiny bit scared to read it, I admit. But, as I said, it unfolds, carefully, without pretense, letting in more and more light, so you just kind of turn TOWARDS the deepest stuff, instead of away. I promise you'll finish it with more hope than when you began." And that's about as much of a "review" as I can manage for now.---Sara

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    TW: suicide, depression Talking about suicide is hard. People often disagree about how to approach discussing suicide, as it can easily become triggering or harmful, but the one thing that can be agreed upon is that it needs to be talked about. This is a novel centering around a girl who recently attempted suicide and follows her as she enters recovery. In some parts, this book impressed me with its bold, unromanticized version of such a sensitive topic. I had mixed feelings with this as a story, b TW: suicide, depression Talking about suicide is hard. People often disagree about how to approach discussing suicide, as it can easily become triggering or harmful, but the one thing that can be agreed upon is that it needs to be talked about. This is a novel centering around a girl who recently attempted suicide and follows her as she enters recovery. In some parts, this book impressed me with its bold, unromanticized version of such a sensitive topic. I had mixed feelings with this as a story, but there’s a lot to appreciate. This reminded me a bit of my least favorite book, Impulse, which also follows a group of teens living in a treatment facility after attempting suicide. Thankfully, this book is nowhere near as harmful and atrocious as Impulse. However, I still didn’t love this. It made me realize that I’ve never actually seen a story, book or tv, that focuses on a person recovering from being suicidal that presented the story in an engaging or inspiring way, or even in a way I could connect to. If you know of any, please feel free to let me know. Stuff that was annoying: - I feel like these types of books should have a trigger warning in the front? This isn’t so much the book’s problem as it is the publisher’s, but the first page of this book is literally the MC’s suicide note. I can just imagine someone unsuspecting picking this up to read the beginning and seeing that, which could be extremely harmful if they aren’t in the right headspace. - Sometimes I felt like this book wasn’t telling a story so much as providing an avenue for the author to educate about mental health/being suicidal. That’s a good thing, in a lot of ways, but also felt a little abrupt in the context of the novel. Like a character would literally say stuff like ‘suicide is cowardly and for the weak’ just so another could correct him and explain how mental illness works. - The side characters were annoying. They felt more like quirks and a few exaggerated personality traits than people (ie. the EXCITED one, the ANGRY one, the WISE one). - The dialogue didn’t feel realistic at all. None of the characters swore at all, which is a stupid thing to nitpick, but don’t tell me a punch of suicidal sixteen/seventeen year olds say ‘what the heck’ and ‘you’re a jerk’. Also saw a lot of profound statements used in dialogue that would sound unnatural in real life. Stuff I liked: - I mean, the feeling of depression and nothingness is definitely captured in the inner monologue. This made it hard to read at times, but it is clear that the author is writing from experience. - This is a book that doesn’t focus on someone becoming suicidal or someone who had committed suicide - it instead chooses to focus on recovery, and stories of recovery are needed just as much, if not more. - The character growth and the relationships, both between the main character and her family and the main character and her new friends, became very rewarding by the end. - This is one of the few stories that emphasized that depression is an illness and people don’t need some big reason to become depressed, which I see constantly. 3 1/2 stars from me! Mixed feelings, but in the end I think this was a good read. I would only recommend this if you’re in a stable headspace, and even then I would go in with caution. If you can handle the reading experience and you enjoy YA contemporaries dealing with heavy topics, this may be a book for you!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Liv | Books to Liv by

    Title: The memory of light Author: Francisco X. Stork Rating: 4 stars HEA: (view spoiler)[ Yes (hide spoiler)] “Do you want to die?” The directness of E.M.’s question takes my breath away. “Maybe that’s not the right question,” Gabriel says kindly. “Maybe the real question is, do you want to live?” Once upon a time, Stephanie Perkins stated that this book had the power to save lives. I happen to strongly agree with her. This novel talks about depression and survival; it talks about life Title: The memory of light Author: Francisco X. Stork Rating: 4 stars HEA: (view spoiler)[ Yes (hide spoiler)] “Do you want to die?” The directness of E.M.’s question takes my breath away. “Maybe that’s not the right question,” Gabriel says kindly. “Maybe the real question is, do you want to live?” Once upon a time, Stephanie Perkins stated that this book had the power to save lives. I happen to strongly agree with her. This novel talks about depression and survival; it talks about life as much as it talks about death. And coming to terms with it. Before immerging myself into Vicky’s story, I never imagined that a tough and delicate book as this one could leave me with such a hopeful impression. Vicky’s journey was wonderfully portrayed and realistically told. The time she spent in the psychiatric hospital wing, instead of breaking her, it rebuilt her. “Mental illness makes people smart. It lets us see a part of life that others don’t see.” By forcing Vicky to acknowledge the depression she was diagnosed with and to talk about what brought her to commit suicide in the first place, the author showed us how a desperate 16-year-old girl could find the necessary strength to cope with her mother’s loss and move on. I was so proud of this author for delivering such a delicate plot. I was so proud of Vicky for standing up for herself. I loved her young voice and her blunt honesty, and I loved all the minor characters, included Doctor Desai who took a chance on her patient and tried to do the right thing. “I think the efforts you made to carry on with your life despite the depression that was bogging you down, were good, brave efforts. You were choosing life when everything inside of you wanted you to choose death. […] Thoughts are clouds, Vicky. They are not you.” It’s been 3 days. Three days since I’ve read the last line of this novel and sometimes, during the day, I have found myself thinking about the life at the ranch and Galileo’s return and Vicky’s words to her sister. Stephanie Perkins was right. Whenever you feel lonely or emotional or just misunderstood, pick up this book. It will carve a hole in your chest, just to fulfill it with hope and a sane dose of positivity.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mebarka

    “Can you hope for hope?” “There's two of me. The person I carry around like a dead carcass inside of me and the one I show to others.” Lately I spent a big amount of time reading fantasy ,so in my pursue for a change I found this book waiting ,my first impression is that it has a beautiful cover ,my second was that I always loved books entitled with the word LIGHT to me it brings HOPE and there eventually it brings LIFE as well ,just like the “sunrise” . “You are not the clouds or even the blu “Can you hope for hope?” “There's two of me. The person I carry around like a dead carcass inside of me and the one I show to others.” Lately I spent a big amount of time reading fantasy ,so in my pursue for a change I found this book waiting ,my first impression is that it has a beautiful cover ,my second was that I always loved books entitled with the word LIGHT to me it brings HOPE and there eventually it brings LIFE as well ,just like the “sunrise” . “You are not the clouds or even the blue sky where clouds live. You are the sun behind them, giving light to all, and the sun is made up of goodness and kindness and light.” I started diving through it with no knowledge about what it was about ,but then I found myself drowning deep in .It has so much honesty to it ,it doesn’t compliment nor flirt with your feelings ,it puts you right face-to-face with yourself . “There are two different questions: Do you want to die? and Do you want to live? “ The memory of light is the story of everyone who are tired of pretending to be someone they are not, of someone who gave up pulling the darkness away and got ready to let it embrace him/her. “You say that as if pretending were a sin. We all do that kind of pretending to survive ... Some pretending is necessary and even good. We can tolerate all the pretending we need to do if we have some islands of honesty in our lives. Places where we don't lie to others. Most of all, places where we don't lie to ourselves.” Vicky, the main character in this book, has clinical depression and has thoughts about killing herself, which she puts due execution. This lands her in Lakeview Hospital, where she has to talk about it, deal with it and try to be brave enough to fight it. But a thing this big never happens overnight and that’s what her father and stepmom are expecting. “There is pain in the body or the heart or the soul or the mind or all of the above. Body pain is obvious. Heart pain is the pain that comes from others, when they love you too much or not enough or the wrong way. Soul pain comes from feel your life is one big waste. Mind pain is what I can't figure out. It's like when you throw body, heart, and soul pain into a blender, then you add a cup of disgust at all that you are, at all that you've become, at all that you will ever be.” “It's hard to accept that depression is an illness, that moping around from day to day with no will for so many years is not my fault.” “It's a sadness that has been knocking at my door for a long time, and I finally let it in.” So when Vicky decides to stay for a couple weeks and starts her sessions with Dr Desei, which I really loved that you wish all people on earth must study psychology at some point so that they’ll never ever start demanding you for answers and especially giving up asking you to be normal. During her stay in Lakeview Vicky meets three other kids (Mona, E.M and Gabriel) with similar situation to hers. The four become friends and start helping each other understanding and accepting who they really are. “...pain that is not acknowledged, talked about, shared even, doesn't ever go away. It hides for awhile and then comes back in a different form.” “It’s the difference between talking to people who accept you and talking to people who are evaluating you, judging you” What I loved about this book is that has a depth that we need to reflect upon from time to time. It made me question many things about my life and the way i evaluate things around me. There are so many passages that carried very deep and heartwarming meanings to them . “Thoughts are clouds, Vicky. They are not you. The cloud of wanting to die appears, and if you don't grab it, it will eventually float away. The cloud that says I'm lazy and a coward and a phony to boot floats before you, and you can calmly watch it come and go. You are not the clouds or even the blue sky where clouds live. You are the sun behind them, giving light to all, and the sun is made up of goodness and kindness and life.” “Remember how you wanted me to remind you that you are just a regular kid? You’re special but not better? I know it will hurt for you not to be the saint and the martyr and the hero who saves Mona. You’re going to have to settle for being Gabriel. That’s all you need to be. Just plain, regular, special-but-not-better Gabriel, who may be ill like Gwendolyn and your grandmother. Can you do that? Are you brave enough to be ordinary?” “Yes, with Gwendolyn. Remember how you made her laugh? You can make her laugh again today. The world is full of Gwendolyns that need you to make them laugh. I’m one of them,” I tell him.” “You hardly see me in the sun, My sparkle's in the stars. When all is dark around you, I'm the memory of light. I'm not the fruit of summer. I'm not the blooming rose. I live in roots of trees And in the seeds of love. When all is lost around you, When life's last dream is gone, I'll be the breath you breathe, The next step that you take.” MISS BEHAVIN: ROSIE O'DONNELL: BETTY BOOP: HOT TAMALE: HEAVEN SCENT:

  28. 5 out of 5

    Laysee

    "The small things. That's where the green of life is, which is all around us." – Francisco Stork, The Memory of Light I am very privileged this year to read a book by my first writer of Mexican descent, Francisco Stork. “The Memory of Light” is a deeply moving and personal story honed in the crucible of Stork’s own experience with depression. It is also an important book because of the light it sheds on depression and the hope that light can be found in deepest despair. Vicky Cruz, a wealthy adole "The small things. That's where the green of life is, which is all around us." – Francisco Stork, The Memory of Light I am very privileged this year to read a book by my first writer of Mexican descent, Francisco Stork. “The Memory of Light” is a deeply moving and personal story honed in the crucible of Stork’s own experience with depression. It is also an important book because of the light it sheds on depression and the hope that light can be found in deepest despair. Vicky Cruz, a wealthy adolescent girl, wakes up in hospital after a failed attempt to kill herself. At a mental ward at Lakeview, Vicky meets Mona, EM, and Gabriel who, like her, are struggling to live. In group therapy with Dr. Desai, these young people begin to bond in ways their diverse social backgrounds and mental illness threaten to keep asunder. I felt for Vicky, “a presence so weak and so new” and found myself close to tears on many occasions. Depression is no respecter of persons; it can happen to anyone of us at some point in our lives. Vicky realizes, "It is possible, …, to have people in your life who love you and who you love, and to still want to kill yourself." Sad but real and debilitating. Stork writes about this mental health condition as one who knows. Depression is "a heavy, thick fog, yellow and pale purple, the color of a bruise, that fills up a room with no windows, no air, no light." It is encouraging to follow Vicky in her journey to find courage and acceptance to be her own special person. The novel has some wonderful things to say about what it means to live in the real world: "Some pretending is necessary and even good."; "The small things. That's where the green of life is, which is all around us." Stork writes with a distinct touch of authenticity, honesty, and sincerity, which is very precious. Vicky’s story is hopeful in outlook and directs our hearts to the memory of light until it begins to burn brighter and surer because light, must of necessity, cast out darkness.

  29. 5 out of 5

    AMEERA

    3/5 not good and not bad

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Memory of Light, Francisco X. Stork

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