Yo, this book took everything out of me. It made me sad. It made me happy. It annoyed me. Worse, it took sooooo long to write.
Guys, this book is 100k words. By my standards, it’s considered a straight up marathon. By the time I finished it, I was parched and ready to collapse from tiredness.
Still, I regret nothing.
I’ve written a lot of deep books (The Firebacks series comes to mind) but DON’T LET ME BREAK is in a class of its own. This is mostly because it’s not just about mental illness, but also about a heroine who has been thoroughly wrecked by it, and is trying to pick herself up.
Even without the suspense element, I think the book would’ve still been okay. But you be the judge. If you haven’t read the book, then you should check it out before you read the rest of this post because there will be major spoilers. GET IT HERE
Okay, onto the juicy stuff.
1: MARLEY WOULD’VE BEEN FINE WITHOUT SEBASTIAN
Okay, I know that Marley isn’t the most mentally healthy person by the time Sebastian walks into the picture. However, she is much better than who she was two years ago. She’s not a hermit anymore and though she still hides, at least she’s trying to put herself out there. I think that even if Sebastian hadn’t come into her life, she would’ve kept on getting better because she was ready for it. Sure, Sebastian is a great addition to her life, but the last thing I would want to put across is that we need someone to fix our broken parts. No, you fix yourself.
2: MORE ABOUT JASPER
You only got to see Jasper in one chapter, but he is a really important part of Marley too. Marley created him and Hazel because she felt defenseless in her daily life. Jasper is Hazel 2.0. The one who takes over when even Hazel gives up. He is a cold dude; zero emotions and definitely a psychopath. Given some space, this dude could definitely be a serial killer so we should all be glad that he was locked in Marley’s mind for 95% of the book.
3: CYNTHIA’S ROOM
If I was into writing tragedies, Cynthia’s story would definitely be on my ‘to write’ list. But I don’t like sad, and that’s exactly what her whole life was. Cynthia was an only child. Her parents passed away when she was quite young and she went to live with her maternal aunt. Her aunt saw her as a burden and she was treated very differently from her cousins (almost like a maid). She ran away when she was sixteen.
Unfortunately, she didn’t even have a high school diploma which meant that the only jobs she could get were minimum wage jobs. She was poor… really poor. So you can imagine how hopeful she was when a suave, financially comfortable man like Gary looked her way.
You all know how it goes from there. First, we start with the emotional abuse and belittling so that she feels worthless and like she can’t do better than him. Then came one slap and apologies it would never happen again. One slap turned to two then more empty apologies. Next came the isolation; no friends he didn’t approve of, quit working, no going places without his permission, no spending money without his approval. Slaps turned to punches. No more apologies.
She went from one hell to another. I wish I could’ve given her a happy ending but sometimes horrible things happen to good people. *sigh.
4: CECE CARTER IS ALMOST AS BAD AS GARY
Yup! Cece knew that Gary was abusive. But she always found a way to defend it. You made him angry. You should be better. As a victim of abuse, one would think that she’d try to do better, but no. She was raised with the toxic, old school mentality that a woman had to just bear with whatever her husband put her through. She was an enabler through and through.
Maybe things wouldn’t have gotten so bad if she’d done something to help her daughter-in-law and the girls, but now we’ll never know. Don’t be a Cece.
5: ZION IS ILL TOO
This one is obvious. The signs are in every one of his actions. The way he obsessed over the sisters. The way he stalked them (and Marley in particular). The way he kept up a friendly façade even while hating Marley. He was a broken man too.
I blame his mother. First, she was the one who exposed him to Gary. Also, all these years, she knew he had an unhealthy fascination with the girls and yet she did nothing to help him fix himself. I’m no psychologist so I won’t diagnose him, but a screw is definitely loose somewhere in there. Though he is in prison, he probably should be in a mental facility because someone needs to fix that screw.
6: HAZEL SHOULD’VE DIED
Yes, in my original outline, both Hazel and Jasper were going to ‘die’. Marley was supposed to get ‘better’ completely. However, after talking to some friendly pros in the therapy field, I discovered that most of the time mental illness doesn’t get any easy fix. It takes time.
Besides that, after hanging out with Hazel for some time, I liked her. She was fun, and I didn’t want to get rid of her. So yeah, she’s still around just sleeping. She’ll be back!
7: KENNY’S BOOK IS UP NEXT
The lady was parentified for almost her whole life, went through abuse and has been shouldering Marley’s disease. Of course she’s broke. Her self-medication is proof enough.
If you thought Marley’s book was tough, then just wait until you read Kenny’s. It will be juicy, and I have the perfect guy for her. If you want to know when the book will be out, don’t forget to sign up for my Book Club.
8: JARRYD JAMES ‘1000x’ WROTE THIS BOOK
Tell me you’ve heard this song. Tell me you’ve heard it! If you haven’t, then let me lead you out from under that rock because this jam will blow your mind.
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