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Book review: Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason

I’m so glad I finally got around to reading Sorrow and Bliss, after it had received glowing reviews from almost everyone I knew.

Happily, I enjoyed reading it as much as I had hoped.

Sorrow and Bliss is ostensibly a book about 40-year-old Martha’s struggle with mental health problems. It is a battle she has been waging for years, when it felt like her brain suddenly changed.

She became depressed and angry.

However, it is also a love story between Martha and her husband, and between Martha and her sister.

And while it could be serious and tragic at times, Mason’s humour means that it is an often hilarious depiction of the struggles of everyday life, amplified by her mental illness (the exact nature of which remains unspecified throughout).

I laughed out loud as Martha recounted her inability to pack when she moved house, naming each box ‘miscellaneous’.

I also found Martha’s sister hilarious, with her mothering struggles and her frustrations with her useless, but essential, husband.

This is a novel of extraordinary balance between the difficulty of life with a mental illness, and the humour of life, with or without illness. There is nothing better than a book that can make the reader laugh and cry within a few pages.

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