• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Haig is vulnerable and specific in his short memoir about his own experiences with mental illness and depression--and he shares the small and large motivators he uses to remind himself that his darkness will pass.

Matt Haig explores his experiences with depression and mental illness in his short memoir Reasons to Stay Alive.

“To other people, it sometimes seems like nothing at all. You're walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames.”


Haig takes the reader through the emergence and progression of his depression, recounting his overwhelming emotions, the pressures of the world around him, and his reliance on his now-wife and family as ballasts through it all.

He tracks the various coping mechanisms he tried, his thought processes, what worked and didn't, and moments of despair so deep he couldn't imagine coming out of them.

Haig lists positive things in the world (they're referred to in the book's title) that comprise his motivations--small and large--for getting out of bed and functioning when doing so is a struggle. He seeks to explain his own situation with mental illness while allowing that others' experiences are different. And he showcases how reveling in small, beautiful aspects of life and the human experience provide him with enough hope to go on.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

I listened to Haig read this audiobook.

Haig is also the author of the fiction titles The Midnight Library and How to Stop Time.

If you like to read memoirs, you might try the titles on the Greedy Reading Lists Six Illuminating Memoirs to Dive Into, Six More Illuminating Memoirs to Lose Yourself In, Six Powerful Memoirs about Facing Mortality, and Six Foodie Memoirs to Whet Your Appetite.