C.G. Drews's Reviews > Darius the Great Is Not Okay

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram
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really liked it
bookshelves: read-2019, ya-without-romance, ya-male-narrators, contemporary, mental-illness

Oh this was so good. I got so into it that if anyone had asked me what I was doing this weekend, I would've been fully like: "Yes I am just in Iran with Darius this weekend how about you." It was so easy to feel in the story. Darius is biracial Persian/American and since he's visiting Iran for the first time (and he doesn't speak farsi) he so often felt lost and outside and like he didn't truly belong. So explained the culture and the holidays as he went and it was so easy to be swept up in exploring his heritage with him.

I heart.

It also had thoroughly good depression rep.
Absolute shout out to ownvoices authors who bare their soul on the page, because that is not easy ok. Darius has been depressed ever since he was a really young teen, so this is his life. But like he has no "reason" to be and that chews at him. Depression doesn't work that way WE KNOW THAT. Darius knows that. But (as also a depressed person with no "reason") I just connected with him so hugely. He talks about the wild emotional mood swings and the isolation and the anxiety spirals. It was just A+ excellently discussed. (view spoiler)

(((also shout out to the fact it was a book with depression, but that wasn't the catalyst or Thing Darius had to work through. It was part of his life but the book underlined how you could just go on living plus manage your depression)))

It was MASSIVELY about family!
I loved this! Just getting to be with Darius as he meets his Iranian relatives for the first time, gets to know his grandparents, eats absolutely all the delicious amazing holiday food. oh oh. I had such a good time. (I don't want to sound like I demand ownvoices authors walk white people thru their culture, but I really loved learning about this and soaking up all the explanations and the "touristy" perspective of the sights they went to see.) And Darius' grandma is sooo nice. I just loved how they all said "I love you" so often and it was so special and close omg. And his parents loved each other and Darius has an epic ball of sparkles for a little sister (I listened to the audio so I don't know how to write her name haha). Who he loves!! Yay for big brothers taking care of their smol sisters!

➸ And the friendship between Darius and Sohrab was amazing.
I think it was softly coded queer (as in Darius was questioning?) but it mostly focused on how he felt he had his first true friend with Sohrab, how they could be themselves and it was okay.

It was such a soft and loving story about friendship and family and figuring out how you fit in the world. There's this one part where Sohrab says "We have a saying in Farsi. It translates ‘your place was empty.’ We say it when we miss somebody." And I love that. And it's not just Darius finding his place amongst his Persian family, but he's finding his place just being HIM.
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Reading Progress

July 24, 2018 – Shelved
July 24, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
February 8, 2019 – Started Reading
February 8, 2019 –
40.0% "oh! i'm really liking this! I love how Darius is an entirely awkward geek because yes hi relatable content"
February 8, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
February 8, 2019 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
February 8, 2019 – Shelved as: ya-without-romance
February 8, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary
February 8, 2019 – Finished Reading
May 24, 2019 – Shelved as: mental-illness

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Zehra (recklessreverie) Wonderful review! 😍
I agree to everything you've said about this book- from the depression representation, to the family dynamic- 200x relatable! 🙌
It was such a memorable reading experience, I loved it!🙈

P.S. It's spelled as Laleh 💕.

C.G. Drews Oh thanks for telling me the spelling! The narrator sort of said it like "La-lay"

Zehra (recklessreverie) Yeah, no problem. That's how it's pronounced apparently.

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