Under Rose-Tainted Skies
Author: Louise Gornall
Norah suffers from agoraphobia, OCD, anxiety and self-harm. As we meet her at the beginning of the story she’s been housebound and home-schooled by her mother for several years. Only leaving to go to therapy appointments. Her first real contact besides mother and Doctor comes in the form of a new teenage neighbor called Luke.
At which point I had to ask myself is this going to be one of those stories where love cures everything?
I had heard a lot of good things about this book so had some pretty high expectations going into it. Having OCD and anxiety I definitely related to Norah. Especially in terms of her mind always going to the worst possible thing.
I think that myself. Why can’t my anxiety ever manifest itself in the thought of something good happening? Why can’t my compulsive thoughts ever be like, “Gee, if you do this you’ll win a million dollars.” Instead of “Gee, if you don’t do this you’ll die a horrible death.” So on the mental health issue I thought this was really good. It’s well-written. From what I understand Louise Gornall has some history and personal knowledge of the subjects as well.
Though as a reader I did think Norah was a little annoying at times but mostly because she tended toward thinking in metaphors and overly flowery prose. I admit as much as I understood Norah’s mental issues I found it a bit hard to relate to her at times.
For a lot of the book I was annoyed. It definitely seemed to be headed into that perfect boy cure all. But I must say I wound up overall happy with how it played out. Luke made some mistakes in dealing with Norah and there were appropriate mixed wires and such. I was also glad real help was presented not in a, “I want that boy,” kind of way but more in a, “I want to live my life and if it’s on medication and therapy I may have to try.”
The ending was a bit out there. It’s also one of my biggest fears so it definitely worked for me though I know some people thought it was rushed.
Probably the biggest problem I had was Norah’s mother winds up in the hospital at the beginning of the book and her stay keeps getting increased. While Norah is worried at times that’s the part where almost all of her attention winds up going to Luke. At one point she even skips her mother’s call. Which might not bother a lot of people but it would have horrified me. It just seemed off that there wasn’t more thought toward her mother than the boy next door- at the point.
Any issues with the book I had aside I thought the mental health aspects were still well written and well-handled and would recommend it on that alone.
FYI- There is a scene where Norah cuts herself and describes doing it before and how she does it only on scars and certain areas of her body. So be aware of that if you think it might be triggering.