Without Merit | BOOK REVIEW

“So many people dream of living in a house with a white picket fence. Little do they know, IMG_4064there’s no such thing as a perfect family, no matter how white the picket fence is.”

First and foremost, this is not a love story.

Not in the traditional sense. There is a boy and a girl and they have their swoon worthy moments it is not about them. It’s a love story about a dysfunctional family that can not come to grips with their dysfunction. It’s a story about depression and therapy and how it’s okay to seek help when you need it.

Merit is a teen aged girl who one day starts collecting other people’s trophies to deal with her short comings. She stops going to school and no one seems to notice except maybe her mother who lives in the basement of the re-purposed church that her father bought. Add insult to injury, her father married her mother’s nurse.

Merit ends up in such a way that she knowingly tries to loose her virginity to her step-uncle.

Yeah.

Merit becomes so fed up with the dysfunction that she goes on a bender and decides to finally tell her family all the secrets she has been holding in.


In recent years mental health has been something really important to me. I feel like it’s a topic that is not touched upon enough, if at all. When it is brought up it is the stigma of it. I felt like this story paints a picture that eventually illustrates its okay to get the help you need.

“So many people dream of living in a house with a white picket fence. Little do they know, there’s no such thing as a perfect family, no matter how white the picket fence is.”

This girl is struggling with a lot of her own demons in addition to her families. She perceives her siblings as “perfect” and her parents as exclusively damaged. Everything that happens to her family members she sees as a negative reflection on herself and when someone tries to tell her maybe she is having a problem she does not see it. She thinks she is not depressed because she doesn’t feel like killing herself every second of the day. She has an unclear image of what depression actually looks like because society only paints one picture.

I went into this one completely blind. Colleen Hoover is an auto buy author for me and I think that helped. While it is not a tradition CoHo, exclusively a love story, it’s still a book I think a lot of people should read if they’re interested.

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