Number of pages: 304
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 4.5
There’s something about reading mental illness books when you have a mental illness that’s strangely comforting. For me, it’s like snuggling up in a warm blanket. I don’t even have schizophrenia like Adam does. Depression is a completely different mental illness, but there just always seems to be something for me to relate to with characters with mental illnesses.
Words on Bathroom Walls is told in a unique format; it’s told in journal entries written by Adam to his therapist. Despite this meaning Adam could easily be an unreliable narrator, the account appears to be fairly unchanged, since Adam doesn’t always appear in the best light.
Adam as a character was well done. He has the same self-aware, dry humour that I have and love, and he has so many human moments. Sometimes he comes off as a jerk, and sometimes he comes off as a genuinely caring character. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the portrayal of Adam’s schizophrenia, but from what I could tell it seemed well researched.
Since everything is told through journal entries that focus heavily on Adam, the side characters aren’t as present or well developed as they normally would be. Because of the format, this wasn’t as big of a deal it would have been if Words on Bathroom Walls had been written differently.
Like many other mental illness books I’ve read, Words on Bathroom Walls perfectly balances humour and the hardship that comes with living with a mental illness. It has you laughing out loud one moment, and near tears the next.
With all the good, there is some bad. I was really bothered by how Adam often referred to himself as crazy. I really don’t like applying the term ‘crazy’ to anyone, but I especially don’t like applying it to people with mental illnesses. I refer to my brain as “stupid” often as way of dealing with my depression, but for me, crazy is different. I’m especially bothered since Words on Bathroom Walls does not appear to be own voices (please don’t quote me on this). I would love to know how others feel about this.
Overall, Words on Bathroom Walls was a really solid and enjoyable read with a few minor issues, earning it 4.5 out of 5 stars.