Boy Meets Depression. Boy Then Meets Floor And Stares At Ceiling. Boy Learns To Get Off The Floor And Shower Again.
Kevin Breel burst into the public's awareness when at 19 his TED talk became a worldwide phenomenon. Star athlete, ace student, and life of the party: in short, he was every parent’s dream. From the outside his life looked perfect. On the inside, though, the pain and shame of depression were killing him. Now, in his first book, he smashes the silence surrounding what it’s like to be young, male, and depressed in a culture that has no place for that. Through the lens of his own near suicide, he shows other sufferers that the real miracle of life isn't found in perfection, it's in our ability to heal and accept the dark parts of ourselves.
KEVIN BREEL is a 21-year-old writer, comedian, and activist for mental health. His work has been featured by NBC, CBS, The Huffington Post, MTV, CNN, The Today Show, Mashable and The Wall Street Journal. His passionate TEDx talk entitled "Confessions of a Depressed Comic" went instantly viral online- amassing millions of viewers and being featured on more than 200+ media outlets. Mashable called it "one of the moments that brought the world together" and the Huffington Post said the talk was "simply amazing." As a comedian, he’s performed in venues all across the globe; including the House of Blues, Rogers Arena and the historic Colosseum. As a mental health activist, he's a National Spokesperson for the Bell LET'S TALK Campaign and has been a guest speaker at Ivy League schools and billion dollar companies.
Boy Meets Depression is a raw memoir written by someone who lived through the depths of mental illness but, fortunately for the world, lived to tell about it. Between relating events from his past, the author pokes around in the dark corners of his mind and it can be difficult to read because of his brutal self consciousness. Breel's flowing, almost stream of consciousness, writing style probably isn't for everyone, but I generally liked it because it allowed me to literally step inside his brain while I was reading his book.
Having dealt with a bout of crippling depression when I was at the age Breel describes here, I empathized deeply but also was forced to look through the mirror of my own recollections at moments that I perhaps didn't want to remember. But, that was ok. Breel's point is that these life stories and experiences do not define us, it's what we do with our lives that does.
A few highlights for me:
"You make a better life through example, not opinion. You can't just think things. You gotta live them out." pg 167 He found a counselor he liked and this was in one of their conversations. Seeking professional help can save lives. Don't be afraid to admit that you need help.
"The thing about trying to figure out who you are is that it's big waste of time. You never end up finding yourself, only being a part of the journey which is creating you." pg 172 A conversation with his mother in which he realizes that he can go to therapy until he croaks but that the point of life is to live it.
"I'm not much a fan of stars, but I am a fan of the idea that sometimes life has to go pitch black before you can really appreciate the light." pg 174 In this passage, Kevin was talking about the extreme darkness in the Yukon and how it allows people to see stars in the sky that they would not normally be able to see. What a beautiful metaphor for depression and life.
"I used to think that focusing on the here and now was just a cute way of ignoring life. Now I see it's the opposite: the here and now is life. Everything else is just self-talk." pg 188 How extraordinary that Breel has been able to come to this conclusion so early in his life. I think that generally it takes folks longer to come to the realization that the world in your mind isn't real, just a story.
Personal accounts of the darkness that dwells in our minds and the slow climb back into the light of wellness serve a purpose beyond a cathartic release for the author. It lets any of the book's readers, who may be suffering with the same issues, realize that they're not alone and that there are ways out. These books are like flashing exit signs to people who may be lost in a frighteningly dark place and I only hope that they find their way at the right time into the hands of the ones who need them most.
I received a free advance reading copy of this book through GoodReads First Reads program. Thanks for reading.
A very very good book and one I will forever keep on my shelves so that some random person might one day see it and take it down and start reading. Having experienced depression myself and at times felt surrounded by suicide, knowing that others have felt the same way and been able to move forward is one of the most precious and valuable gifts someone can receive.
This book is an advanced reader copy, uncorrected proof. I won it through a Goodreads giveaway. The review is my honest opinion. Thank you Harmony Books.
This small book arrived, yellow and black. Immediately I was drawn to the cover. As Kevin Breel tells his story of dealing with depression, the edges of the pages go from light gray to total black. A great marketing tool.
Kevin is a 21 year old, whose TED talk about his journey as a comedian who suffers from depression became a viral sensation on the internet.
I think this book would be helpful for anyone who has a member of their family or friend who is suffering from depression. It would also be valuable for a young person who thinks they are alone in dealing with depression. The book was at its best when the author was in the midst of talking about the darkest days of his teenage years and he actually wrote a suicide note for his family. He eventually decided not to kill himself. I liked the side bars with the witticisms. I would like to quote some, but since it is an uncorrected proof, will not do so.
The weakness of the book for me was the history of his family. We know as we read his father is an alcoholic and depressed, some information about his mother. A sister. What happened to the father? Also, is the author on medication? Is he handling his depression only through talk therapy? As a young male, this book took a lot of courage to write. He will help a lot of other people by telling his story. This book would be very relatable to teens in middle school and high school, who think they may be depressed and a good book for parents of teens, middle schoolers, and teachers. I would have liked to give it four, but 3 and half stars.
So honest. An accessible account of his experience with depression as a young person. I feel kind of funny rating the book; it seems so presumptuous to 'grade' how someone experienced and dealt with such a difficult personal health issue. But it's so well written, relatable, and informative that I would recommend this to others, whether they suffer from depression, know someone who does, or just want to gain some perspective on the illness. In fact, I did so today, to a coworker whose daughter has a mental illness.
Suicide and All of That: Wrap Me Up, I am All Watery Coffin
In a heightened depressive state, in which my body is commanded to move, I rush down a steep hill. The Revolutionary War hills of Cornwall, New York. Oak and birch trees that stand silent solitude at first.
Then to brush their bare limbs in applause at my heightening pace. The noise drips from my ears, an unsettling chorus. Cast in silhouette of winter’s late-morn. The rising up of temperature by degrees
and icy branches that give way to screaming water droplets. And the branches bounce back up again with bloated snaps and snatch away the sky. Again, and ever tangled, stretching up the blue.
Skyscrapers cast in wood. Weighted down by the creeks and gullies; the bottomlands. I move past stand after stand under their mocking gaze and yet, I realize, it are the trees that are mocked.
Inanimate and forever without course of movement. And so I move down the hill faster in triumphant fury. I stop only to grab a round lump of asphalt from the road to hurl pitiless at the trees.
But, I allow my mind a wander, a diversion. Fairly flying in frame and mind, it is the Hudson river I seek – take hold of me.
I am at the free running river’s edge now. No more ice covering thick the river near Fishkill. The water runs south in a whipping fashion. Kind of smacking up against the ice, which I figure to be about eight-
inches thick. More or less. Ice floes glistening by me, mesmerizing me and forgetting me as they head south towards Bear Mountain. I hear a helicopter somewhere in the distance. I strip down to my underwear, no
freaking shirt, no nothing and jump in. Underwater seconds tick slow. Crazy bluish-green color down here in the frigid water. I can hear the heavy ice floes skidding above me. They look large and darkly
crystalline when they become half-submerged. The strong current rakishly casts me south. I want to stay down underneath the ice floes forever. Weighting me down, taking me deeper, ever deeper full force,
embracing me, going down ever bottom and then…swish…the floes roll over me and a bolt of air! And then I become buoyant again among the large chunks of floating ice creaking around me. I swim past them and climb back up on the river’s frozen edge.
I hear sirens echoing through Cornwall and on down to the landing. Fire trucks come blaring down the hill I walked a million years ago, followed by the Cornwall Police squad cars. An ambulance in tow.
Helicopters and all that. So I walk away from my moment of hard earned solitude near the town of Fishkill in the waters of the Hudson River and I don’t look back this time. Only up and to the sky. And as I walk
back soaking wet toward Cornwall Landing, I carry my pants, shirt and boots I left on the frozen river, and on to the shouts and sirens and helicopters and dogs and onlookers and every-who-the-hell-else, I get
close enough so that I sit down (actually squat down Indian style) and have me a nice long cigarette smoke. My eyes burning up the blue sky and the blue sky burning up my eyes even bluer then they normally are
and I let the tears come burning too for what I thought I lost in life, the not living it. And I finish my smoke and come back to shore in my wet underwear and let the combined forces of the Fire and Police Departments, the Ambulance Service grab hold of me and take me, they take me far away.
I first came across Kevin Breel's work when I came across his TED talk, but how I came across the TED talk, I don't remember. Maybe it was just the viral nature of it that landed me on the video, or maybe it was To Write Love On Her Arms. In any case, it is because of these things and then subsequently following Breel on social media that led me to finding out about his book.
What I like about this book is it not only gives a raw look at what depression was for him, but it also does it with the craft of writing in mind. It's not a narrative of "and thens," which many can fall into when writing their own story, but rather a flowing narrative from one point of his life to the next. As someone who has tried to write her own story, it is incredibly difficult to put your life to words, and I think Breel does a fantastic job of it.
Interestingly, this book comes into existance at a time in my life that I'm dealing again with my own depression. The way Breel writes of his own depression coming and going in waves nowadays is the same way that my own depression exists. At the same time, I think it's fair and important to acknowledge that we don't all experience depression the same way. I think rather than looking at Breel's book in the hopes of seeing our own experiences, we ought to look at it as someone who can say, "I've survived it, too," which is a really important narrative.
Well, I had some quotes typed that I found from the book to include in this review but then my computer rebooted so I guess we're going to have to go without specifics. The big thing is... meh. This book was okay. It's an important subject, and it's important to have people speak frankly about it, and maybe some people will read this and it will help them and that is always good. But the quote on the back that "Kevin Breel has single-handedly demystified depression" is just a bunch of horseshit. There are WAY better books about depression - better written, more poignant, more readable, and/or more funny (YES, there are indeed some quite funny books written about depression). Breel instead spends half the book whining about a not-that-tragic childhood, and then says it wasn't that tragic and he shouldn't be depressed (and depression is "ridiculous" and "absurd"). Yes, you can be depressed without having had a tragic thing in the world happen to you--they're not the same--but whether your mental illness stems from your environment or situation or your brain chemistry, there are still better-written books about it.
While it seems there are an abundance of books on dealing with depression, I’ve seen very few written from the standpoint of a teenage boy. Kevin Breel provides hard-won insight into the nightmare of depression and the importance of removing the stigma surrounding mental illness so that it is treated like any other illness. This will be a valuable book for anyone dealing with depression - either their own or that of someone they care about. It will be particularly valuable for teenagers and young adults who feel alone in their struggles.
Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book.
This book was so incredibly raw and impactful. You really just feel what the narrator feels and it really strikes a chord with you. It took a lot of courage for the author to share his story like this, but I believe that this book can be really helpful for people going through the same thing and feel like they’re alone.
3.5 Stars. Audio Book-read VERY well by Josh Bloomberg but not by the author, which I was disappointed about. I heard the author on a Ted Radio Podcast and he has a good voice and I liked the brief snippet so much I immediately bought this book for my commute. What I liked: This guy went to the SAME high school I dropped out of when I was seriously depressed at age 16. My time there was 30 years before Breel's, but still, it gave me goosebumps. Who should read/listen to this: Any First World teenager or Twenty-Something with Depression. Kevin Breel is extremely self-absorbed and his story is dull as a result. He was Clinically Medically Depressed, and that is a terrible place to exist in. Not eating, sleeping too much, not moving, not bathing, ruminating, self-pity, self-hatred. Very accurate picture of being "Depressed for no reason"--truthfully, there were reasons-- brain chemistry and genetics being at the top of the list. This book depressed ME, it was so true to the Disease. Had to come home from work listening to it and drink wine just to snap myself out of it.
What I didn't like: the end where he "snaps out" of his suicidality after finding the right Therapist didn't ring true to me--the Therapist seems fantastic, but this kid really had True Clinical Major Depression. He NEEDED medication. And not even to mention it seemed cowardly to me. Even if he refused to take meds, (which would have been very stupid of him), he needed to discuss that (poor) decision in his book. What I didn't like: I was bored through much of this book. If he is a professional Comedian, couldn't he have added humour in telling this story? There wasn't any that I could discern. Some miserable attempts. I don't recall smiling once.
What I liked: The "Notes To Self" at the end of the chapters were uplifting. I didn't necessarily agree with all the conclusions he arrived at but liked the positive thinking and the message of self-forgiveness and forgiveness of others--and forgiveness of Life for not giving you more.
I also liked that he described in excruciating detail how he pushed away and rejected Alan York, the caring counselor who was trying so desperately to help him--this helped me to understand The Disease better. I would have so appreciated a counselor like that when I was a kid and couldn't find a mentor or counselor, even with searching and reaching out (I was the one who was rejected by them, not the other way around). To listen to Breel throw away that kind of support and help made me cry inside that there was never any Alan York in MY secondary school years (if there hard, I wouldn't have dropped out). But it helped me understand why troubled teens (and adults) reject help sometimes. Fascinating.
This is sweet perfection. I actually cried at how accurately my thoughts were captured. At about 64% in the audio, comes some of the best explanation of a depressive low I've heard. Also, narrator sounds like Ryan Reynolds. 😙
I will read this one again and again. Raw and honest, even in the dashes of humor. I felt like Kevin was sitting in the room with me telling me about himself, but somehow telling me about myself and so many of us who are trying to make sense of ourselves.
De verdad invito a que todo el mundo lea este libro. Les cambiará la visión de muchas cosas y se darán cuenta de cosas que quizás nunca habías pensado. Es un libro muy real. Situaciones que probablemente las personas con las que has tenido contacto han vivido y no tienes ni la menor idea de que están pasando por eso. Tuve que parar el libro por unos días y empezar uno alegre porque es fuerte. Sin duda alguna nunca dejare de recomendarlo.
I had really high expectations from this book but was extremely disappointed. I wasn’t hooked until chapter 7 (10 chapters in total) when Kevin starts to talk about what depression feels like and how he overcame it. To me, everything before that was just listening to him complain about the most trivial things. I was tempted to stop reading it so many times.
This book was approximately what I expected. It's a memoir, so there isn't a lot of information about depression outside of Breel's personal experience. That said, I would recommend this to teens struggling with depression (adults may enjoy it too, but I don't think I got as much from this book at 20 as I would have at 15). It's a simple read, though not many of the events are resolved so I was left wishing for a more tangible resolution.
When I first chose this book to read and review, I didn’t know who Kevin breel was. I didn’t know he had a tedx talk, or what his story was about. Now I’m so glad I know of his existence on this earth – because it’s valuable, and it’s needed.
The beginning of Kevin’s book walks you through his childhood. From the way his family ran, to being in school, to the tragedy he endured just brides high school, and then the awkwardness of learning to deal with being a teenager and fight feelings of depression. This first half of the book was easy to get through, and was a great set up to the meat of his story.
However, the middle of the book, the part where he explains what depression feels like to him, and how he almost ended his life, is stunning and palpable. If you yourself have suffered from depression you’ll probably find yourself nodding along with his eloquent and powerful descriptions of what it’s like to suffer from depression. His writing is very raw and vulnerable, it’s so good.
The last half of the book is about how he was able to find help, and find his way out of the trenches of depression.
I loved this book not only for its authenticity in explaining his pains, but also his sincerity of wanting to help others who may find themselves in similar places. His words are laced with encouragement and understanding, as well as a good sense of humor. It’s comforting to be able to feel understood as well as to laugh all in one page.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has suffered/is suffering from depression, and anyone who may know someone who is. This book is a great guide to help us all out in understanding the darkness that depression is.
Something I also wanted to mention is how the book itself was designed. The sides of the pages go from light to dark and then back to light – in accordance with Kevin’s story. I thought that was a really great extra touch.
We really enjoyed this book, especially Breel's readiness to put himself on display. He mentions this, in fact. He wonders aloud why people pen auto-biographies. He also states on the last page of the epilogue;
I wrote this book as an invitation to a better life for anyone who has been where I've been.
When Breel writes this last part, he is including a critical juncture. We will not spoil it for you. We state this because we want for you to read it yourself if you identify with the author.
The language and the content can be profane at times. However, art forms are sometimes raw. There's not a ton of it either. It is definitely worth the read, if those who might be sensitive to this are willing to reach beyond the comfort level.
If we were to meet Breel in person, we would probably enjoy that. He's as funny as he is deep. He also cares about other people.
It's really telling how that Breel talks about his family in the beginning. However, as he becomes more depressed and therefore more self-absorbed, the family also disappears. This makes perfect sense. He feels so alone and even when he doesn't have to be alone, he pulls back and ensures some modicum of safety by doing so.
We have no criticisms for the book, other than the desire for some images of some sort. However, that's just us. We want to see physical manifestations of feelings, even though this clearly isn't the way of others.
Even so, we feel as though we've just had a personal conversation with the author, though we clearly did not and really, what kind of scum bag offers up criticisms for one who has just bared their soul to you?
It's a great read and offers plenty of excellent insight with a few laughs along the way.
This book didn't really do anything for me. I found myself skipping sentences because I felt like it was a bit dull. It feels harsh saying this because Breel wrote about suicide and his suffering from depression. I think I felt the way I did because my depression was so immensely different from Breel's. The way he described his suffering, I couldn't relate to. I didn't feel anything throughout this book until the epilogue and the acknowledgements page. The epilogue made me laugh and cry at the same time. And yes, the acknowledgements made me cry. I do feel for this author and I wish him all the best.
I feel like I have to point out that he spoke so eloquently about therapy and professional help. It struck a chord with me, because therapy felt exactly the same way to me as it did to him. I'm talking about this quote:
Some say therapy is all about paying money to someone else to get answers you already had in the first place. I think that's pretty funny. But for me, I know it's not true. I found things inside that little room in Sooke (referring to the room he spoke in with his therapist) that I would have never found inside of my bedroom, eating candy and living inside my own head.
Then there was a quote in the epilogue that resonated with me because I've said it myself on multiple occasions:
I know what it's like to want to die. And now I can say I honestly know what it means to want to live.
"It took me months to realize that I was drowning in a deep and dark depression. it seemed as though knowing you're depressed would be obvious- the way it is when you cut yourself or come down with a cold- but it isn't. it's as if suffering has a way of secretly finding a home inside you, slipping past your own sense of self and common sense."
Reading Boy Meets Depression was like going to therapy. Kevin Breel touches on so many different facets of his depression- the self loathing, doubt, fears of living up to anything, all the way to the mania he describes during a Christmas break of momentary 'enlightenment.' And on each one he touched, it felt like he struck a nerve within myself.
One of the single most impressive aspects of this book is Breel's voice. I was certain he was older, maybe in his 30s. He sounds so mature, so self-deprecating in that way that can only be attained through living for a minute. I was shocked when I found out how young he is. Breel is someone who truly has the gift of words and crafting them into a story you don't want to put down. Pick this book up and you'll struggle to put it down until you've gobbled up every last word.
This book is hard. Really hard. That said, if you or someone you know has ever struggled with depression, read this book. This is what it's like to read from someone who legitimately gets it. You'll probably cry, you'll probably laugh, and you may even be transported to your own wistful moments of childhood.
This is a brilliant book. I applaud the author for having the guts to dig up his distressing past and his persistence for transforming that mess into a compelling narrative.
He accurately describes the slow and insidious process of an eroding self. With its devastating consequences of filling up the empty space, once occupied by the very fundamental human concept of a worthy self, with confusion, despair and pain. A frightening state where the intrinsic safety-switch is no longer in place and any means of reducing the pain and resolving the confusion suddenly become feasible. A dead end where endurance and a high pain tolerance is essential for survival.
However, this book is not consistently dark as my depiction of it. But brightened up every now and then with a bit of gallows humor. Probably not everybody's taste, but certainly amusing for mine.
2.5-3 stars. This little yellow book caught my eye in the bookstore and I thought I would give it a try. I have heard good things about Breel's TED talk, but I'm not sure that his writing style is for me. The subject matter he is writing on is important and this is a good book to have out there but it didn't seem very cohesive to me. It felt like I was being thrown from epiphany to failed epiphany and depression likened to so many things that I lost track. I think this would be a great book to have available in schools for teenagers. Maybe I've forgotten what it was actually like to be that age and that's why I struggled to connect to this book. I'll have to check out his TED Talk to see if the message comes across better.
Wow this is one of those books that really makes you think.The early parts of this book are entertaining and pass by quickly.Then the author really gets into his depression and the struggle with it.While this was a tough stretch to read it's not because it wasn't good .It's just it's a to digest and I had to take it in small portions.Worth checking out as it offers a lot of good suggestions on how to deal with depression and life in general. #####I won this through goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review######
I feel like this is one part memoir and two parts "this is what depression feels like" explanation for individuals who don't struggle with it. While the writing was a little too wordy/rambling for my tastes, there are two big benefits I want everyone to know if on the fence about reading this book: 1. It puts into words a lot of feelings that are sometimes hard for a person with depression to explain. 2. The author shares the advice and suggestions from his counselor, therapist, and mom that helped him through his grief and depression, so some of that advice could also help others.
This book, as I have said many times before, is one of the most emotional, charming and hilarious books on the subject of depression and mental illness. I have never been so proud of someone I have never met.
I face my own issues, and Breel made me feel like he was sitting beside me, telling me his own story. He made me laugh and he made me cry. And I have never wanted to meet someone so badly in my entire life. Thank you for this book, Kevin.
A disturbingly accurate vision of what it is like to be depressed as a child. But when he gets into adulthood, the language he uses (meaningless, sleepy, etc) seem to be cliched descriptions of depression. Will do well as an athlete's intro to depression but nothing revelatory here.
The first half of the book was a slow and mostly uninteresting retelling of a young person's short life. Then the second half got really personal, philosophical and deep. It was like reading two books. And the second half was fantastic. Well written, creative, raw and honest and lots of wisdom.
Kevin Breel Boy Meets Depression, 2015 Harmony Books (New York) Copyright 2015
This book is touching because you can feel his guts when he loses someone important he loved. This book is biographical because the reader writes about his life and how miserable it was. However, this book gets a tiny bit boring and complex in the middle chapters, but don’t let this change your mind about reading it because this book is amusing, hilarious, memorable and really powerful to our hearts because it shows us how such a young boy can go through intriguing sad moments in his life.
Kevin Breel, background is paining and had a near suicide attempt because of a fatal loss that is unforgettable for him that makes him mournful . Kevin has also appeared in Ted Talks. Breel’s background also includes him losing a loved one in a very young age which leads him in attempting suicide which his background is really dark and horrifying especially from his childhood and teenage years. Last, some more background about Breel was he was a really salty boy and he was really rigid of his own little world because he didn’t let many people help or get in his life which made his depression dangerously intimidating.
The author Kevin Breel is a wonderful at talker, because of that he made to TED and his book was successful and he just started at nine-teen years old! He’s from an Island close to Canada, property of British Columbia. His neighborhood and the one he grew up in was Cadboro Bay. The reader can learn the feelings of a boy who didn’t really felt like he had a family and how a loosing a friend is heartbreaking. They can feel heart-touching to the author and understand how it feels going through a depressed life with a little help of people.
Some similar books to Boy Meets Depression is Diary of a Wimpy Kid. These are quite similar because It shows a diary or a life about a boy who’s life is crazy and despites many things that make both boys gloomy and have a miserable life. The difference is that Boy Meets Depression is real and Diary of a Wimpy Kid is fiction.
This book personally was heart-warming because I feel the sorrow of Kevin while he writes this book of his beloved loss and the sad memories he brings back from his childhood. This book is important to teenage boys who are going through hard times can overcome it by a story that they can relate to. This can help them on how the outcome can be. Moreover, this book is considerable to parents and guardians around the world who are worried about their kids because it gives them a brief example of what can happen if he or she doesn’t get help.