I almost didn’t read this book.
It’s true. This book has been sitting on my To Read list for over a year and I can’t count the number of times I almost just deleted it because it wasn’t available via my local or statewide library systems. But for some reason I left it there. And for some reason last week I ordered a paperback copy from Amazon on impulse. And it was almost destined to sit on my To Read shelf for another year, but by chance I finished my previous book before any new holds had come in from the library. So I opened this little paperback up and read one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read in a long time.
This book, written in verse, follows Beth through a year inside her house. Struggling with depression and anxiety, Beth has decided to take a year off, away from the world, in the hopes that she will be able to reset and start anew when the year is over.
Starting January 1st, Beth begins her isolation. She sets a strict schedule, from the time she wakes up, to what she eats, to when she goes to sleep. Sometimes the isolation helps keep the darkness at bay, sometimes it doesn’t. Grehan uses verse to weave Beth’s struggle subtly but clearly. I’ve read a lot of descriptions of mental mealth struggles and this is one of the first that is familiar and yet doesn’t trigger a resurgence of my own issues. It’s a feeling of familiarity, of being understood. Beth’s struggle is my own, and seeing ones self portrayed so accurately is always lovely.
But Beth’s story isn’t all darkness. There is a glimmer of hope when one day a dog named Mouse finds his way into Beth’s garden. Beth plays with him from her window, talking to him and playing fetch with a ball he brings with him.
Over the next few weeks and months, Mouse and his owner Alice sneak their way into Beth’s life, and eventually, her heart. Alice is patient and kind. She seems to understand Beth’s world instinctualy. She never pushes Beth to be or do more than she is able. Soon enough a friendship blossoms that gives Beth the first real hope she has felt since beginning her year of exile.
The Space Between was an unexpected delight; a story I didn’t know I needed until I read it. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for fiction addressing mental heath, and also to readers interested in f/f romance or poetry.
Find this book on: Goodreads