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Reviewed by Janeesha Singh
Opening sentence
“The brain is just another—albeit the most important—organ of our body.”
The Book of Feeling Blue is informative, allowing the reader to distinguish between the common feeling of “feeling blue” and the more serious issue of being “depressed.”

This book is beautifully split into two parts, part one of which describes the idea of feeling blue and how to distinguish between what is known as the blues and something more serious. It allows the reader to understand the difference in such a way that reading it doesn’t feel like a chore, but something you look forward to. This book teaches the readers that humans are so much more than just our feelings and that ‘feeling blue’ doesn’t need to be a negative thing. It is explained in such a way that it is touching to the reader. Not only does it discuss the common blues (someone passing, loss of a job, friendship, etc.) but the covid blues as well, which is recent and touching to multiple readers. The author provides some remedies for feeling blue.

Smith then discusses depression, beginning with their own story. As a reader who doesn’t have much background knowledge on what this experience may feel like, reading about the author's personal story really touched and intrigued me. Multiple types of depression are discussed (from teenage to gender to elderly), as well as numerous treatment options.

A key thing that really stuck out to me was the questions within the book, a mini self-check to differentiate between feeling blue and depressed. Out of curiosity, I took this test and loved its structure. As well as this, the book is covered in little illustrations, which I enjoyed a lot.

While reading this book, you can hear the author's inner voice, which indicates a good book for me as a reader. The tone was confident and informative, yet still had a homely feeling. I believe the author aimed to be clear in what they were saying but did not want to sound like they were writing an academic report. I related to what Smith was saying in the sense that I have seen some of the things said by the author in those around me. This book has done an incredible job of informing me, and I am grateful for it.

I think this book would be suitable for ages 15 and up based on the reading level and concepts discussed. There is not a specific type of person I would recommend this book to as it is suitable for everyone to read. In fact, I would encourage everyone to read this book: it is much needed as the mental health crisis has gained more acknowledgment recently. Overall, I think this book is an excellent investment of time as it has taught me so much within the span of a few pages. It is an easy read, engaging, and definitely worth the read.

-- Janeesha is 18 and is currently studying at the University of Auckland.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 9781988547954
Format: Paperback
Publication: 2023
Ages: 15+
Themes: Depression, self-help