This isn’t really a review, though it kind of is, it’s more posting about this book so people know about it as I think it’s a good way to get people to understand about M.E. through the different pieces written in it. Over the past year, maybe more I can’t remember when this started, two volunteers from the charity AYME, Katherine Langford and Jet Spero, were asking members of the charity to send in art, poems, stories, photos or anything else creative really to make a book out of. This is that book. It’s full of creative things made by people with M.E. and the money from this book goes to the charity itself.
This book is available from two places; amazon here, and the other is a smaller online shop here. It’s £6.99 whichever you get it from, though as I got mine from Amazon there is a print in the front saying it’s printed by Amazon, copies bought from the other site may not have this, I haven’t seen one of those versions. I also found it in the Barnes and Noble website if you’re in America, it’s on sale for $9.36 here. If you’re somewhere else in the world I think the other site link would be the best bet and see if they ship to you, though in my search one of the top results was Australian eBay so it seems to be travelling the world!
Before I start this I’m going to say I was, until I turned 26 a month ago, a member of this charity for 9 years and I currently volunteer for them and am a member of the graduates. However I haven’t had anything to do with the writing of this book, I just want people to know about it and then to decide for themselves if they think it’s worth buying.
There are 76 pages in this book, they’re all black and white and contain all sorts of things though the majority are written rather than pictures. These written pieces range from short poems a few lines long to short stories a few pages long. I like that there are also pictures, these are nice just to flick through and look at, some realistic sketches and a few that I would probably call anime style people (I hope that’s an OK description!). There are quite a few photos with a range of subjects from members and their families, their pets or the wildlife and world around us. The picture print quality isn’t as good as you’d get in a photo book but it’s fairly sharp and works well for the pictures there are as it’s in black and white, they’re probably the quality you’d expect from a good quality printer. I like the fact that it’s all spread pretty evenly, there isn’t a group of pages of photographs and then one of poems, they’re all spread throughout the 76 pages.
The foreword and short explanation of M.E. and the charity is a nice way of introducing the subject and reason for the book to anyone who might not have the illness themselves or read this if someone else gives it to them.
The contents of this book are good, definitely something that you could have out on a table for people to flick through or to look through when you want a short poem or story to read or a photo to make you smile. I think the main reason I love this book is that everyone who contributed to it has M.E. and every poem or story is about things I can relate to, the thoughts and feelings are things I’ve thought and felt throughout the time I’ve had M.E. and that just makes it more special to me as it shows there are other people out there who feel the same even when it feels like no one around me actually gets it. That is the reason why I would recommend this book to anyone who has M.E. or anyone who knows someone who has it as even though you may not have these feelings yourself it might help you to understand how someone who does feels.
I think this would be a good book to get if you want to be able to explain to people how it feels to have M.E., it’s something that I’ve found hard over the years and normally use the Spoon Theory site but this would be good as it’s actually specifically M.E. from the eyes of people who have the illness rather than chronic illnesses in general.
Overall I’d say that if you have M.E. yourself or know someone with it this book would be worth looking at, whether it’s worth £6.99 or not is up to you as there aren’t many pages but I think with the time and effort gone into it from the members who contributed and the editors it is as this money goes to the charity and it’s a charity that I personally believe deserves supporting.