When I heard about this book, I immediately thought of reading something reminiscent of By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead. I even prepared myself for some extremely painful story of a girl who’s been emotionally abused her entire life. Now, having finished reading it, I should say that I am totally disappointed on that part, but in a very good way.
A little overview. Aysel Omar is a physics nerd who loves plotting about her death. She’s suffering from depression, and her dad being locked up in a correctional facility for murder obviously didn’t help, making her a social outcast. So she goes to this website called Smooth Passages – a website for those who want to commit suicide. And because she needed help, (she can’t self-terminate alone) she consults the Suicide Partners section of the site. There she meets Roman, a.k.a. FrozenRobot, who turns out to be overwhelmed with guilt over his sister’s death, (not to mention high school varsity player hot!). As the two of them try to figure out and decide what’s the best way to die, something absolutely unexpected came up. Ayzel fell in love with Roman.
So this book is much more resembling All The Bright Places for that matter, minus the suicide website and the plot to self-terminate. I felt the romantic element of the story more that the dark side of it brought about by the suicide theme. Or maybe I am a little twisted? But seriously, for me this is another romantic book which has an unusual storyline, or maybe it could be considered a gothic romance. First off, Roman is just too good-looking to die in the end. He was described as tall with deep-set of hazel eyes that turns golden when he’s happy, or when he’s feeling any positive emotion, and a high school basketball varsity player. Second, I haven’t read any scene where Aysel was being taunted or bullied blatantly about his dad. Like I said the first time, I was expecting a lot of verbal and physical assault towards her, painful enough to choose a dead end. But besides the fact that her mom doesn’t seem to pay attention to her, who appears to be fonder of her half-sister, Georgia, I didn’t see any serious attack on her.
“She’s my half-sister. But I’m not her dad.” This is the best quote coming from Georgia, Aysel’s half-sister. In the entire story, Aysel stands up for the fact that she is her dad’s daughter, and she is somehow connected to whatever her dad did. Her dad’s mental health is known to be unstable, having been transferred from the correctional facility to a mental institution, and this somehow scares her and brings her into thinking that she might get whatever her dad has and eventually end up just like him. She could’ve stand up for herself, instead, and make everyone believe that she’s not like her dad. The same blood might be running through their veins, but they have different minds, different thinking and different perspective.
It’s all in the mind. Physics wasn’t my favorite subject when I was in school, and I couldn’t really care more about it, but when Aysel connected it to how the human mind works, it made total sense. That everything is subjective in the human mind. Our emotions, our opinions, they’re all relative. It all depends on perspective. Therefore, being suicidal and depressed is not an illness but a mere state of mind. There must be those who suddenly feel sad for no reason at all – I feel that way sometimes. Sometimes when I am alone in a bus, or at home, loneliness creeps through me like a thief, trying to swallow the joy I have inside. But should I let it? I mean, if I am already down and I would think that my sadness would never go away, then it never will. Aysel mostly allows herself to be gnawed by her own depression, thinking that she doesn’t have the right to be happy. Much like Roman, who’s being eaten away by his guilt. At one point, they also have to forgive themselves and move on, and accept that there really are bad days.
In the end, love is the cure. And they fell in love. What more could give double happiness to a person besides caring for someone and being cared for? Roman may not admit it at first, but I already had the hunch that he’s not only curious about Aysel, but he cares for her, beyond he could have forseen. And who would not be attracted to a guy who would shoot some hoops in the carnival and wins a big stuffed lion for the girl he’s with? There are a lot of people surrounding them who could’ve cared, who could’ve loved them despite everything. If they’s just allowed these people to enter their lives, it could have made all the difference, early on.
My Heart and Other Black Holes is a suicide-themed novel, but the irony is that, it is packed with positive perspective and ways to handle loneliness. In the end, it became a story of two broken people who fixed each other through care and love. This book can be of help to those who feel sad, less resilient. And those who think yhat life is ultimately bleak.