C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Light Between Worlds

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
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bookshelves: read-2019, young-adult, historical-fiction

I'll be honest = this book hit me really hard and I'm a bit dismayed that (in all the promo/reviews/hype I've seen) no one's talked about how this is very heavily about depression and suicide. Please be careful if you pick it up and you're not in a good place. I honestly felt (and I hope I'm wrong and that I misunderstood the book's intention) that it had underlying tones of depressed people being a burden to society and their families. This is so so dangerous to say. And so so untrue. Depressed people deserve love and support. Always.

(I did have lots I loved about the style and the emotion the whole story conveyed, as well as how strong and wholesome the romance threads were. But I also love Narnia, and this is absolutely Narnia fanfic and I'm so confused as to how that's allowed?)
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Reading Progress

April 12, 2017 – Shelved
April 12, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
February 25, 2019 – Started Reading
February 25, 2019 –
page 100
28.49% "Like I'm enjoying this because I think it's going to be the Susan/Narnia story we always deserved. But how is it legal? 😂The names are changed but it's Narnia fanfic?"
February 26, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
February 26, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
February 26, 2019 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
February 26, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 new)

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message 1: by Bella (new) - added it

Bella Mauro Thank you for warning us about the depression and suicide triggers. I was planning on reading this book but, I think I might wait until I’m in a better place. Thanks again.😊

message 2: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews That's ok! I wasn't in the right place to read this 😔so I think it's good to warn others.

message 3: by Theodora (new)

Theodora Thanks for the warning. I really wish books had trigger warnings. So many of them deal with sensitive topics that could potentially trigger someone.

message 4: by Maria (new)

Maria Writes Oh wow thanks for the warning. This seems dangerous ⚠️

message 5: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews Or even just a little warning in the blurb what it's going to be like? That would help. 😔

message 6: by Laura (new)

Laura Thanks so much for the warning. Even in a good place, stuff like this can bring up - feelings. Best to avoid, for me.

message 7: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews I totally understand, Laura. 😔

message 8: by Jes (new) - added it

Jes Hmm yeah this one is challenging, just finished the novel myself and was unsure if it was metaphor or reality at the end and concerned for what that could mean. That said, in my own life I have been on both sides of the coin that Phillipa and Evelyn are and I understand how there is truth in the feelings of being a burden, and not knowing how to help someone and also take care of yourself, especially when dealing with your own demons. Though it seemed to me the novel reached a place where the sisters could state their love for one another in the end beyond all this, their long journey there left me concerned and up in the air for quite a while too! The book explores some dark places without drawing clear statements about them. In some ways it felt comforting to be seen/represented, in others it felt it lacked in assurances. It helped to remind myself that the overall message was one of love and to look for how the characters showed to one another that as best they could.

message 9: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews @Jes. EXACTLY. I'm with you on this. I've experienced what both the sisters went through with relating to depression or being depressed, and there were good points made. It's difficult to support depressed people...but the second you start with the "it's not my job if I don't want to do it" messages though, it's talking about conditional love and feeds into the poisonous ideal that mental illness is a burden and people have better lives without them. (view spoiler) And like you said: I think it didn't properly draw conclusions about the messages.

message 10: by Jes (last edited Mar 01, 2019 01:35AM) (new) - added it

Jes Mm yes. (and to clarify in case anything was lost in translation via internet comment, though, it seems we are on the same page -- I too am definitely on board with the danger and pain of feeling a burden, and thus when viewing it from the flip side am so careful to word it as that scary and sometimes stressful fog of "not knowing how to help someone" and the conflict and stumbling (in Phillipa's (fortunately not my own) case, mistakenly) down the path of learning that comes from a need-- felt, recommended by a therapist, etc, to "also take care of yourself, especially when dealing with your own demons.") The biggest thing you mentioned here that left me as well looking to discuss it with someone was the ending, which the book leaves so unclear. (view spoiler) Overall, like your original review states, there is some lovely writing and styliziation here, and a depth in exploration of emotion that could speak to the right readers, but absolutely one should know what they are getting into.

Edit: Also, just noticed your comment from up above. You are seen, wishing you warmth, security, and whatever else you may need in this time <3

ℓуηη, ℓσкιѕℓутнєя¢ℓαω I was planning on reading this sometime soon, but I think I'll set that idea aside for now. Thank you for the forewarning!! 🙏 They really should have some kind of warning listed on the blurb. And I hope you enjoy some happier, lighter reads after this one. 😊

message 12: by Sasha (new)

Sasha To answer the fanfic question: ideas cannot be copyrighted. Only the expression of ideas can be copyrighted. While I haven't read this book, the idea of kids disappearing to a magical world during a war can't be protected. The analysis is much more complicated.
Fanfiction often involves using the same characters, locations, and incidents from the source novel, i.e., large amounts of direct copying. My assumption is that in this case, the author was influenced by the Narnia books, but executed the premise in a different way, took the story to a different place, and gave the story a different tone (your review implies that it was heavy, rather than lighthearted). This makes it a separate work.

I hope this was helpful! (source: this is how I pay the rent)

message 13: by Brigid (new)

Brigid Thank you. Will avoid right now.

message 14: by M F (new) - added it

M F The author has a bunch of content warnings and triggers listed on her website, which is helpful (it's linked in her Twitter bio). I didn't read them until I was partway through the book, but it was useful to know what might be ahead. It would be better if publishing would normalise printing things like that in the front of books, though.

I don't think the theme of the book was about depressed people being burdens; I think it was more that you can't be responsible for saving others -- that all you can do is love them and be there, and it isn't your fault if you don't succeed/can't fix things. I can see why you might have read it the way you did, but that isn't the vibe I took from it.

message 15: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews Finn Longman wrote: "The author has a bunch of content warnings and triggers listed..."

I'm glad it didn't come across like that to you...so maybe I'm wrong but I just can't shake the gut-wrenching dread in how so much of it was worded. Plus (view spoiler)

message 16: by KD (new) - rated it 3 stars

KD Hays I didn’t particularly care for the book I don’t think. I’m on the fence about it. But I feel like it has an honesty about dealing with honesty any mental illness that most don’t write. People with depression aren’t the burden, but the depression itself is a burden. I think the difference between the two isn’t that they both experienced it, but rather one was able to disengage from it while Evie made it a part of her heart. Everyone goes through the “wood”. But Evie wove it into the fiber of her being. I think that is influenced due to the fact of labeling. And when we have our “woods” for so long we become a lot of lost without them. And it isn’t the PEOPLE with depression it’s the depression only that is a burden. But the sisters are imperfect. Philipa never said that the “wood” was Evie’s problem. She also confirmed that Evie and the wood were one. I don’t know if it makes much sense. As someone who has every form of anxiety in the DSM and being a psych major it had a lot of fascinating depths to the characters. At least that’s my opinion.

message 17: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews KD wrote: "I didn’t particularly care for the book I don’t think ..."

I'll just put my reply in spoiler tags! (view spoiler)

message 18: by M F (new) - added it

M F I actually thought the ending was a lot more ambiguous than that, and that it could be read as more hopeful? I saw there being two readings of it, and I was inclined towards the hopeful one because that was how I wanted to read it and because The Last Battle is my least favourite Narnia book lol, whereas it sounds like you lean strongly towards the other. More spoilery thoughts on how I read the ending:

(view spoiler)

I totally sympathise with what you said about being in the wrong mental state to read the book, though. I've had that happen before and it sucks hugely when a book that you thought would be escapism is actually triggering and makes things worse. I'm sorry that happened to you with this one. I think if I'd read it a couple of years ago, I'd have had a similar reaction, and although it's great that the author has trigger warnings on her website, it's definitely a sign that publishing needs to do better about including that kind of information somewhere more obvious.

message 19: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews Finn Longman wrote: "I actually thought the ending was a lot more ambiguous than that..."

I definitely get what you're saying! And there are obviously a lot of ways to interpret books that lean heavily on the metaphorical. I suppose I might just be a pessimist seeing the suicide allegory. But in all honesty, I can't see it as anything but that. And it has too many sharp lines with Evie's behaviour directly relating to what depressed/mentally ill people go through including having her family give up on her. When the kids went to the Woodlands the first time, it feels like a disassociating from the horror of being in a bomb shelter in the war. So I guess I didn't read the book as magical realism -- I read it as a mental illness/historical contemporary and so even though I read it a while ago I still find it intensely problematic.

message 20: by Mary-Faith (new)

Mary-Faith Thank you for writing this review! It helped me decide that I should probably hold off on this for right now.

message 21: by Ally (new)

Ally Oh no oh no I guess I shouldn’t read this thank you

message 22: by Megan (new) - added it

Megan McMillen Content Warnings

The Light Between Worlds portrays characters dealing with depression, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation, illness and disordered eating, and the loss of a loved one. It refers to possible suicide, contains scenes of violence and war, and brief mentions may be unsettling to readers with emetophobia. If you have any questions about these warnings, or require more details, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact page on the author's website.

Eileen I hear you, I really struggled to get through this book because I was not sure what was going on and if I was reading it right. It was not what I was expecting.

Renz Crystel Abanador I agree with this. I suggest the readers to be careful in reading this especially if they are suffering from depression ‘cause it might trigger suicidal tendencies.

PS. It’s good that I’ve read a disclaimer about the topic of the book before starting reading it so I have managed my expectations, but I guess it could really be disturbing to some who haven’t.

message 25: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews Renz Crystel wrote: "I agree with this. I suggest the readers to be careful in reading this especially if they are suffering from depression ‘cause it might trigger suicidal tendencies.

PS. It’s good that I’ve read a..."

I'll have to be bluntly honest that I didn't like the messages of the book anyway? I know things can be interpreted differently so I'm not telling anyone else how to think/feel about the book. But for me, I saw some damaging and negative threads entwined in the story about how mentally ill people are a burden to the abled. So even if I had known it was a book about suicide going in, I'm still unsettled by its themes.

Vee Yep, I did love this book but I'm so glad I was in a good place for the self harm scenes because whew

The Masked Reviewer i'm so glad i'm not the only one who interpreted the book this way. as someone who has acted as the emotional support person and carer for a family member suffering terribly from mental illness, i loathed the book's (hopefully unintended) implication that death is the only release for the mentally ill and the people who care for them.

message 28: by C.G. (new) - added it

C.G. Drews Anonymous Book Roasts wrote: "i'm so glad i'm not the only one who interpreted the book this way. as someone who has acted as the emotional support person and carer for a family member suffering terribly from mental illness, i ..."

I'm actually relieved I'm not the only one who saw this message. I still think of this book and my stomach turns over, even years later. Whether meant to or not, I think it's dangerous.

Adrianne I'm honestly really surprised that so many people think the depressed girl killed herself at the end of the book. I absolutely didn't take it that way at all. I read it as she really got to return to the Woodlands

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