This Close to Okay

I have depression, but am not a suicidal depressive so reading this book was not a danger to me, but before I start talking about the book you may need to know that there is A LOT OF TALK ABOUT SUICIDE in it. I believe the kids today call this a trigger or content warning. To be fair it is pretty clear in the book’s description, but even that might be too much for some. So fair warning.

If I had to choose a word to describe this book it would be gentle. Cross-Smith’s use of language here is like having a massage. Honestly I never thought I would find the word backpack so comforting. Tallie is the consummate therapist – constantly asking for consent, checking in on Emmett’s feelings, probing for more information during relaxed moments. For most of this book it’s like Emmett is in a goldfish bowl (though he doesn’t realize it) and we’re thankful he’s safe and hope that Tallie can help his brain and emotions find their way away from the bridge.

When they start to open up to each other, Emmett begins to heal as he begins to care about Tallie. He tries to help, if not in the best way. Tallie opens up to Emmett, which makes her want to help him more while also healing from her recent divorce. Social media and email play a role here, and it made me wonder how much the grieving/healing process is elongated by the addictive nature of the internet. How do you let someone go when they are still there at all times? This question is relevant to both Tallie and Emmett, just in different ways.

If you have ever had to move on from something or someone unwillingly, if you’ve ever been desperate to hold on or to escape for some modicum of relief, if you’ve ever had to put in the difficult mental work to recreate your life without someone, This Close to Okay will speak directly to you. It will feel familiar and comforting. It will envelop you in the gentle arms of understanding, acceptance, and healing. I am so thankful that this book came to me when it did, and I hope you take the time to read it as well. We could all use a safe space to grieve and support each other in this time. This book with give you both, if only for just a moment.


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