So. This ‘sick-lit’ thing. Essentially this is a term coined by a Daily Mail writer to describe the perils of reading books about death, depression and the darker side of life. It’s a vitriolic piece that makes me very sad and I won’t be linking to it on principle.
But what I will do is let you know this:
Recently I wrote a book, and I’ve submitted it to various people in hopes of getting it published. It is full of Darkness. At one point, it was called ‘The Darkness’ (til I was gifted a better title for it – and one that made me stop thinking of the band). And want to know something? Writing that book, expressing the un-expressable, was the most cathartic experience of my life. It was the best thing I’ve done for a long time.
But that’s from the writing perspective. This article is ‘worried’ about the readers. So what of the reader?
First of all: sick-lit really doesn’t exist. Not really. Not at all really.
Can I tell you what does exist?
Books that allow readers to realise they’re not alone. Books that, through their very medium of bookness, allow people to live the darkest points of their life – and live them with the knowledge that other people got through this. Books that let you close the cover and step away when it becomes too much to handle. Books that make you stay up at night whilst somebody else looks into your soul.
Books that tell you other people live this pain, live the pain that keeps you up at night, that makes you spend lunchtime hiding/crying in the toilets, the pain that you can’t even speak yet because if you do you’ll make it real, the pain that is so viciously desperately yours that even when you don’t think of it you still feel it deep inside of you.
I will fight for these books.
I will fight for these books that let you know you’re not alone.