Brainstorm Revolution is an anthology, of sorts. It is many stories and one, all bundled together. It is black-and-white, black and white, and a rainbow of colors. It is deep, resonating work… at turns, beautiful… haunting… ugly… scary. Profound.
Ultimately, it is the story of community, through the eyes and pens of many authors, written as essays. But it’s more than that: It is a work of art.
I was asked to review this book. I loved that I was asked and looked forward to getting it in the mail. I waited. And waited. And waited. It didn’t help that there was a revolving mail strike that began the day after (literally!) I responded to the email and said, “Mail it!” I suspect it got lost in the Christmas packages on hold in whatever warehouse… and in fact, it is still there, for all I know. That’s because they had to send another copy, which I received last week.
It’s a Canadian book, which surprised me. I don’t know why, exactly. Some of my favorite (or I should say “favourite”) authors are Canadian – like my beloved Louise Penny. I also wrote about her work, here. But that’s not what this is about.
All the writers in this book have stories to tell and to highlight one would feel like a betrayal to the others. I have long-believed that art is subjective and what flows from this book is — well, it’s already been said: art. That said, some stories did resonate with me because of my own experiences, as some will with you. But all of them are worth reading.
Understandibly, there is a trigger warning page at the front of the book — and it needs it. You’ll need it.
These are stories of abuse by others and self, violent crime, PTSD from various sources (including war) and mental health experiences that run from the anxious to the edge of a precipice… sometimes, going over.
Every story is told in first person, which adds authenticity that shines through the pages.
Love. Evolution. Revolution. It’s how the book is broken up into sections… and also… ironically (or not) how it feels to fight through mental illness. I know. Though, at first, I wondered why they chose love? And then I read it.
In the section on Love… at one moment, I was in near-tears reading a short story about a dog who gives someone a reason to live. The next? A plan, first to end his own life, then to get better. Thank God, I think while reading. Thank God. Is that love? Indeed.
In the section on Evolution… two stories come to mind… in one, the devil tells a young girl that she is pure evil. She is only eight years old. Tears from me, again. And then, in a another essay, a quote: “Today the sun rises and so do I” (pg. 155) More tears, in recognition. Yes, it is so!
In the section on Revolution… I have to share this: “There is a world to rearrange; You are the change.” (pg 219) Yes, yes, yes! I am – you are – we are- the change!
Again, I am not sharing author’s names because I don’t want to make it seem as if one story was “better” or “worse” than the next.
Instead, I want you to realize, going in, that this book is like a painting, each brush stroke (story) as important as the last and the one coming next. You will be saddened, horrified, and uplifted with what you find among its pages.
It was a privilege to read and review this book. I love that I was asked.
If you are someone with mental health issues, you will find yourself among the pages.
If you are the parent, spouse, co-worker or friend of someone with mental health issues, I encourage you to read this book, too! It will help you understand.
As you can tell, I think this is an important work! I recommend it!