“Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.”
Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.
There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.
Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.
My Heart and Other Black Holes is the fifth book I have read this year that deals with depression and suicide. I am not sure what that says about me, reading dark and heavy theme books and we only in the first quarter of the year, but I can guarantee everyone that I am no way suicidal or depressed. It just that I read lots of contemporary novels and most of that titles that are coming out this year under this genre deals with these topics.
So having read other novels that deals with the same subject, I can’t help but compare My Heart and Other Black Holes to other books and set some expectations. I expected to be inspired, to have some realization, or to get emotionally wrecked by this book like the other titles I have read, but for some reason this novel didn’t leave me with the same impact. I’m not sure if it is because I have read too much books with the same topic (is there such thing as too much in reading?) that the plot become too familiar or it just the book didn’t hit the right string.
“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and in your blood. If I know anything about it, this is what I know: It’s impossible to escape.”
One problem for me are the characters. Though I like Aysel’s quirkiness I never felt connected to her. All her dialogues about physics and science stuffs are fun and interesting to read but she doesn’t reach me enough to make me care for her. I feel like she wasn’t developed very well. Sure, there are some changes in her from being a suicidal teenager to someone who want to continue living her life. But I feel like her changed of heart happened too suddenly. Like she skip some phases in between and just woke up one day loving her life more because she is in love.
“I once read in my physics book that the universe begs to be observed, that energy travels and transfers when people pay attention. Maybe that’s what love really boils down to–having someone who cares enough to pay attention so that you’re encouraged to travel and transfer, to make your potential energy spark into kinetic energy.”
Then we have Roman who I think is too selfish to be the savior here. Aysel is claiming that she is saved by Roman but I don’t think Roman made an effort to save her. It just happen. Meeting and knowing him open some realization to Aysel but he didn’t do anything to make it happen. In fact, he is selfish enough to try to end his life even after everything his parents and Aysel did for him.
Aysel and Roman are both troubled characters. Their suicidal condition is so critical that I feel like they can’t be together no matter how the author tries to pair and save them in the end. These two characters both need fixing and I just can’t see how they will save each other if both of them need the saving. How much help can someone give if he himself is buried so deep and also need the saving? I just can’t see how that part will work, maybe in fiction with super cliché settings like this one but not in real life. So basically, one of the message of the story is screw up in my opinion.
“I think he’s looking for comfort, but I don’t have any to give.”
Overall, My Heart and Other Black Holes is a well written novel that deals with sensitive topics, depression and suicide. Though it didn’t leave an impact nor pull some emotional reactions I expected, I still think it is worth a giving a try. Who knows, maybe Aysel and Roman’s story will inspired or touch you.