Book Review: Angel, Angel Storm's Edge Therapy

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.

Can Depression Sometimes Be Helpful Storm's Edge Therapy

Can Depression Sometimes Be Helpful

Isolation has Forced us to Face Ourselves

Can Depression Sometimes Be Helpful Storm's Edge Therapy

Depression is a known phenomenon; we know what it looks like and what it does to a life. But is not simple to say why it exists, because it is not one thing. There are many different reasons for depression to become a part of a person’s life, from a purely biological reaction to chemotherapy to feeling powerless in a cruel situation. We can call one of the depressions “Existential Depression”, because it forces us to examine our existence. This is real depression and is as devasting and as stuck as any other form, despite being fundamentally psychological.

No matter the trigger once low mood reaches a clinical level it is Clinical Depression and consumes the person’s whole world; mind and body.

Depression Becomes Part of You


If our lives are going in a direction that feeds us, allowing us to express fully who we are as well as allowing us to grow into our potential, then we continue without the need for depression. However, at times our life may instead be going in a direction that eats us: our path is causing us harm, limiting our growth or restricting our self-expression. We can feel this and are built to course correct, but what if we feel our life failing and we are not able to reroute and change our direction. This could be due to external restrictions: family frameworks, social expectations, limits in resources. On the other end of the spectrum, internal dams hold us firmly in place: beliefs that we are not capable, not deserving or even that there is something wrong with our very nature.

Can Depression Sometimes Be Helpful Storm's Edge TherapyWe Need to Change, But Can’t

This is when Existential Depression is activated to force a course correction, whether we want to or not.

Depression is a natural and functional response that encourages us to become more reflective, reclusive reducing external and social stimuli, focused on internal processes and acutely aware of the negative (what is not working). Our bigger picture and future thinking are shut down permitting nothing but a focus on what is wrong with the immediate situation.

Depression is dangerous when it gets stuck and there seems to be no way out, because it is by design our dark place. For all of its potential, this is not the place to stay for very long.

If you are struggling with Depression do visit our resource page or make contact.