The Balance Between Life and Death is a book written by Elizabeth Holland. I first got to know of Ms. Holland on Twitter. She was promoting her books.
The Balance Between Life and Death was written in the third person narrator. The omniscient narrator did a lot of telling.
The protagonist Ana Adams, lost her mother when she was five years old. Her mother walked out of the family. Years later, Ana’s father committed suicide by hanging. How old was Ana was he killed himself? Ana took 10 years before she could bring herself to seek therapy.
Holland with-held the contents of Ana’s Dad’s suicide note for some time to build suspense on the dead man’s last words to Ana. She diverted attention to Ana and how she fell for an office romance. Ana slowly learns that her assistant Grace also experienced the loss of a parent. Ana slowly discovers she isn’t alone. She need not be alone, but only has to reach out for moral and emotional support.
From Grace, Ana learned that she should try to “fake it until you make it”. If you smile and pretend to be happy, you’ll eventually feel happy.
Ana couldn’t trust herself to fully accept her romantic interest Noah. She had lost the two most important people in her life and she was afraid that if she loved Noah, she would lose him too. Their relationship blossomed. One day, Ana told Noah the story of how she lost her mother, and then later, her father. Noah was sensitive to her feelings and helped her to open up and talk.
It is common for people suffering from abuse, psychological trauma, mental stress and other forms of ill treatment, to keep silent. They may be overwhelmed by their abusers, afraid to speak out, or feel isolated by deliberate alienation to ostracize them. These are tactics employed by abusers to wield power over victims.
Ana fell apart when Noah failed to show up for their date. It was an important day that marked her dad’s birthday. She was disappointed beyond measure. She kicked herself for trusting Noah. Ana attempted suicide.
No, Ana didn’t die. Her faithful neighbor Sarah saved her life. Ana’s mother Eleanor came to see her in hospital. So did Noah. Ana leans the truth why Noah didn’t show up for their last date. His mother was very ill. Ana stopped blaming herself for opening up to people and exposing herself to hurt. She changed after her attempted suicide. Noah and Ana agree to break up to focus on immediate issues.
This book reads like a fantasy in having Eleanor (Ana’s mom) pop back into her life to work on filling the gap of a parent. In real life, how many parents who disappeared after divorce will actually reunite with their child?
I read this book in a day. It was interesting to see how Ana explained herself and her mental health conditions. I would recommend this book.
Holland, E. (2020). The Balance Between Life and Death. Amazon Distribution: Germany.
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