“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.” ― Anaïs Nin
I’ve never been around anyone who suffers from panic attacks or depression. As the story is told through Ash’s POV, it was interesting to read about the challenges he faces day in and day out. At times it was sad and tough to read about what it takes for him to even go outside, the feeling of dread, of hopelessness and most of all his fear of having another breakdown in public. I believe the author gives the reader a very realistic look of someone with this type of disorder.
Ash was a very hard character to like, but I felt myself being drawn to him. He’s dark and angry, putting himself down and being negative about everything in his life. Throughout the story, he’s always going on about how he’ll never be good at having a relationship. He feels he’ll just let everyone down. How he’ll just make a mess of everything, so why bother. Even with all the negativity he was spewing about, I wanted him to find a special someone to help him come out of his darkness. No one could have predicted, least of all Ash, that that someone would be a flashy model named Darien with a fake tan, wearing sparkly clothes and nail polish. Darien is truly a memorable character.
When we first meet Darien, Ash is thinking he’s just a one night stand like all the others he’s brought home. Darien doesn’t seem too bright and is certainly not the type Ash usually goes for. Darien is so sweet and loving. I liked him right away. He has a carefree way of looking at life, always positive. I didn’t always love how Ash treated Darien, but the prickly behavior followed Ash’s established character. When Ash acts out, Darien just barrels through, refusing to be pushed away out of fear. His tenacity and simple honesty ends up paying off as he becomes a calming presence in Ash’s world. The change is Ash is subtle at first, but as the story progressed I suddenly realized I was starting to like Ash. I loved these two together. As it turns out, Darien is exactly who Ash needed and wanted, he just hadn’t known it yet.
The turning point in this story occurs when Ash feels cornered while talking to old school mates at a wedding. He says some really hurtful things about Darien. Of course, Darien overhears the conversation and is devastated. This is the first sign that Darien may not always be around and it shakes Ash to the core. Picking up the pieces, he starts seeing all the ways that Darien had touched his life and is embarrassed with himself that he didn’t try harder to reciprocate. I loved how the author kept the realism of Ash’s bi-polar and anxiety disorders and yet showed growth within his character. Even though it is a major challenge, he goes through a lot of effort to find and share the real him with Darien.
I didn’t like how the author wrote out Darien’s accent word for word. It was a major distraction for me in the beginning. I even put it down a few times and came back to it later. After reading for awhile, I had gotten so engrossed in the story that I just overlooked it. I’m glad I decided to finish this book; otherwise, I would have missed out on a great story.
Reviewed by: Lynn