You Need This Book In Your Life


As it is mental health awareness week, I thought I’d talk about a book I read very recently which I found truly excellent. Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be by Gemma Cairney is a non-fiction book that covers a huge variety of things – from heartbreak to anxiety, exercise to sex to careers, this book has pretty much anything and everything you could need advice on. In this blog post I want to talk you through the various wonderful things about this book – particularly the parts of the book which discuss mental health.

Firstly, it’s divided into different sections, which makes it super accessible.

The first page of Open divides the whole book into four sections: Your Heart, Your Mind, Your Body and Soul, and Your World and Your Future. Within this, there are even more parts. For example, Your Mind covers stress and anxiety, eating disorders, depression, addiction, OCD, and self-harm. This makes it so easy to just flick to whatever section you need at any particular moment. When I first picked up this book, I looked at the contents and got really excited and showed all my friends, saying Look! Look how many things it talks about! Isn’t that cool? Those were my exact words, and I got a couple of odd looks. But as the sort of person who will often read about lots of these sections individually, I loved having it all in one place.


There’s something in it for everyone.

I’ve already mentioned that the book covers a whole range of mental illnesses, and this means that it is quite likely that if you are struggling with something yourself, know someone who is struggling, or just want to find out more, it is discussed in this book. Even if you simply want to know more about volunteering, or periods, or something else not related to mental health, this book is brimming with knowledge and advice. Which leads me on to my next point –

The book is filled with Gemma’s own advice and lots of professional bits.

Reading this book, it feels sort of as if Gemma is a big sister, bestowing words of wisdom upon me. She’s relatable, interesting, and she writes in such a way that her message really comes across. But as well as this, there are also heaps of technical definitions, statistics, lists of symptoms, and advice from specialists in particular fields. There’s also a long list of helpful websites at the back of the book, and it is just really helpful in so many ways!


The layout and the art in the book are just beautiful.

This point is perhaps not very relevant, but Open is such a colourful book, and it just makes it even more enjoyable to read. I think it’s important that the book is so bright and happy, because it enforces how encouraging the book is; it also makes the book easier to read, as all of the advice is broken up by lovely pictures and fonts. And also there’s the fact that it is very aesthetically pleasing.

Overall, this book just oozes positivity. I have not, as of yet, read the entire of this book, but I have read everything on mental health, as well as lots from the other sections. This is the sort of book you can dip in and out of as of when you need it; after reading through it for about an hour, I felt more positive than I have in a very long time (specifically after reading the part on body image, which is a bit I would particularly recommend you read).

Gemma also shared some of her mental health book recs in Open.

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