Book Review: Angel, Angel
Author(s): April Stevens
Penguin Books (1995)
Review by Kael Cockcroft
What It's About
The story of a mother's desperate struggle to adjust to the end of her marriage and the impact of a husband and father leaving his family. This invisible cornerstone twists all of their lives into an unexpected and unknown knot.
What I Thought of the Book
April Stevens conjures impeccably crafted moments; quiet and warmly tender moments that show the quality and shifting connections between a triangle of characters. This is a tale of failed intimacy and how depression can actually be an alive tool to manage the space between people. In today's world of constant and over-bloated connecting this is a story of people who needed to stop: to break away and break down. The book was set and written pre-internet, being published in 1996 and the film "Crazy Kind of Love" was released in 2013, which almost feels necessary in order to underpin the non-digitised connecting.
A gentle story: the sensation of depression is palpable throughout although not always bleak. Her depression is slow and low, but at times considerate, unreachable and empty. Mood has many seasons and Stevens is able to portray its subtle ebb and flow.
Why I Think This Is a Useful Resource
Theory and frameworks are indeed helpful, but narratives bring a lived understanding that is a resource itself. This book is for anyone struggling with depression themselves or merely wants to understand both the misery and process on behalf of another.
The value for understanding mental health, depression, loss, grieving and adjustment is found in the different expressions of agony that grip each character as an authentic expression of both their nature and their place in the family.
How I Discovered This Book
I was enthralled by the film "Crazy Kind of Love" a 2013 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Sarah Siegel-Magness which is based on the 1995 novel Angel, Angel by April Stevens. The film stars Virginia Madsen, Graham Rogers, Amanda Crew, Zach Gilford and Sam Trammell in lead roles. This film tells a notably different story from the book, although both hold the same basic themes around mental health and relationships.
About: Depression, Family Relationships, Romantic Relationships
Disclaimer: All recommendations are intended as supporting materials for developing greater self-understanding and building capacity. They are in no way meant to replace seeking support from a qualified professional.