Sorrow and Bliss Book Review

Sorrow and Bliss
The first way I want to describe this book is by saying it’s painfully relatable, but actually I don’t think that’s true. Martha is clearly struggling with her mental health throughout the book and I don’t imagine that’s something everyone can relate to, however, what I think Mason does brilliantly, is showcase the niggling, sometimes downright miserable, thoughts we have a throw them right into the forefront of this book. It’s unapologetic in its misery while somehow conveying a dark and morbid humour too.
Title: Sorrow and Bliss
Author: Meg Mason
Type: Fiction
Published: 2020
Pages: 341
TW: Depression, Self Harm, Infidelity, Abusive Relationship
Sorrow and Bliss

It goes without saying that this book gets both heavy and dark in places, but I thoroughly enjoyed the way Mason crafted the characters and the narrative and while it wasn’t what I expected, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s nice to read a book that isn’t giving us life through tinted glasses but rather showing the pain and dread, the boredom and mundanity of being alive!
7.6Relatable, Funny, Dark
The other element of the book I loved was Mason’s handling of Martha’s diagnosis. Throughout the book it’s evident that she is struggling, and we also see her see doctors and talk about her mental health. However, her condition is never named, and I think this was a clever omission from Mason to communicate that while people’s diagnoses may be the same, the way that manifests itself will be different in everyone. Avoiding labelling Martha gave the reader room to read between the lines and take what they wanted to from the narrative.
I feel almost bad saying how funny I found the book, but in the moments where Martha, or another character, comes out with something wholeheartedly truthful, you can’t help but laugh, take this as an example: “I said I meant to deal with them but ending my marriage and trying to get a fitted sheet on by myself felt like too much at the same time.”

Sorrow and Bliss centres on Martha Friel, from her childhood to her middle ages, we watch as she attempts to navigate life and try to not let it overwhelm her along the way. With a husband whom everyone tells her is incredibly doting and a life encumbered by only the normal amount of tribulations, everything should be fine, but Martha just doesn’t love being alive.

Review overview




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