Title: The Weight of Zero
Author: Karen Fortunati
Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Seventeen-year-old Cath knows Zero is coming for her. Zero, the devastating depression born of Catherine’s bipolar disease, has almost triumphed once, propelling Catherine to her first suicide attempt. With Zero only temporarily restrained by the latest med du jour, time is running out. In an old ballet shoebox, Catherine stockpiles meds, preparing to take her own life when Zero next arrives.But Zero’s return is delayed. Unexpected relationships along with the care of a new psychiatrist start to alter Catherine’s perception of her diagnosis. But will this be enough? This is a story of loss and grief and hope and how the many shapes of love – maternal, romantic and platonic – impact a young woman’s struggle with mental illness.
Although comped with Girl In Pieces and 13 Reasons Why, this book does something 13 Reasons Why fails to do: not glorify suicide.
Once diagnosed with BPD, Cath has lost her two best friends from her childhood. After her grandmother’s death, her psychiatrist suggests that she reads Perks of Being A Wallflower, which only worsens her condition. Finishing the book, she feels more helpless and alone because everyone in the book had their reasons to feel the way they felt, while Cath feels depressed for no reason. There has been many other instances where Cath hates herself for not being able to be grateful for all that she has. As someone with depression who related with Cath, this narration of the book alone is enough for me to give it four stars. Most of pop culture shows depression as a symptom of some physical problem you can see. This book shows depression as it is – a disorder itself.
From Cath’s prescriptions and measured dose on how much to take to stay healthy while saving enough to overdose, you’ll see that the author has put in a lot of research into the book. She has mentioned what pill does what, and it definitely doesn’t include the stigma around medication. Cath knows her pills help, and that’s what pills actually do although a lot of books forget to mention that.
While Cath saves pills whenever she can, she learns that not having a problem to blame your mental illness on doesn’t make you alone. She learns she is loved as who she is and that life is worth living even though Zero will be back, because when she has friends and family by her side, she can be stronger than her BPD.
For a realistic look into bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts, this book gets a rating of 5/5 from me. I would recommend it for anyone interested in metal health books, or into a bit dark contemporary.