The Me, Without by Jacqueline Raposo
PUBLISHED BY BLACK INC
REVIEW BY HAYLEY ROHEAD
A creative with a chronic illness, Raposo details reaching her mid-thirties and finding her illness reaching a low point, along with her bank account and love life. She touches on the things her illness – Lyme disease – has changed for her.
Moving from a stage actress to a writer in her 20s when her health slumped, and not being able to have children, Raposo also details the pain and fatigue she faces – or doesn’t face. She also notably senses she’s not happy, but can’t really underline the root cause, intuitively linking it to a sense of being overstressed and maybe disconnected from life.
Raposo then embarks on a personal quest to remove things in her life, one at a time for a year, to see if they result in better health, professional or romantic success. She details the removal of these distractions – the withdrawal from social media, the switch to shopping local, for instance – and how that affects her as each challenge moves on. With each challenge, she discusses her success, failure and compromises for each task.
I was interested in this book as someone with lifestyle changing injury and mental health concerns, who lately has been questioning my own use of social media. What I loved so much about this book is that it was incredibly well written and put together in a thoughtful way. The author intuitively understands that the reader wants to read about the challenges and how each one goes, and not pages and pages of highly detailed description of symptoms and response. The writing is instead easy to read and engaging. In a world where everyone is more switched off, Jacqueline Raposo starts to switch on.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.