Friday, 29 December 2017

Reasons to Stay Alive- Matt Haig Book Review and Giveaway

What does it mean to feel truly alive?

'This is the true story of how Matt Haig came through crisis, triumphed over a mental illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. Moving, funny and joyous, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.'

Reasons to stay alive is a very personal and honest account of Matt Haig's experience of depression and anxiety. The book tells the story of a deep and debilitating illness and the effects it has on the sufferer and his loved ones. 
The book takes the reader through the darkness of depression and anxiety as well as the light at the end of a sometimes very distant depressive tunnel. 
The book is written in small chapters, which makes it easy to read and references wise quotes from philosophers, artists and authors. 
The book breaks from the convention of your average memoir with the Matts lists of insightful and amusing thought patterns and then and now conversations which are very relatable. 

I really enjoyed this book but I think it's important to recognise that this book is a story of someone's journey and is not a self-help book. 
Anyone that reads my blog will know that I am painfully honest about the struggles that myself and my daughter face through her battle with mental health and I feel that Matt Haig's Reasons to stay alive delivers an honest and relatable account of the absolute misery that is depression and anxiety.

I especially appreciate Matts account of anxiety and how controlling and life-changing anxiety can be. The chapter named 'The Art of Walking On Your Own' mirrors very accurately my own experiences for anxiety when I was in my 20s and behaviours I now see in my own daughter.

On going to the shop alone-

'This is crazy
This is the craziest thing I have ever done
Its just a shop
It's just a shop you have been in, on your own, five hundred times before
Get a grip. Get a grip. But on what? There is nothing to grip onto. Everything is slippy.
Life is so infinitely hard. It involves a thousand tasks all at once. And I am a thousand different people, all fleeing away from the centre.'
Unless you have experienced Anxiety, it is very difficult to understand the irrationality and control it has over your life and I think this book depicts anxiety in a way that makes it easier for those supporting sufferers to understand the thought processes of those suffocated by it.

There are two things that I really want to point out to the potential reader of this book

Firstly before I read this book I checked out the Amazon reviews and there were a few negative reviews regarding Matts lifestyle and how lucky and privileged he is with his trips abroad, support network and loving girlfriend (now wife)  but for me this is the exact thing that makes this book so good and so relatable.It challenges the stigma of depression. 

Not everyone who suffers from depression does so as a result of PTSD or difficult or an abusive childhood or living in poverty and unemployment.  
People who from the outside can seem privileged or 'normal' can suffer from mental health problems too because it is an illness of the brain, a chemical imbalance not always because of social causes. 

My second point is that this book will not give you a happy ending. 
Because depression is lifelong. It will rear its ugly head from time to time. 
This book won't offer the reader reasons to stay alive and I think if Matt Haig had tried to do that it would have been patronising because reasons to live are personal to each human,  but what he does do is highlight that there are reasons to stay alive and if you hang in there you will find the strength to look to the future.

My one minor criticism of this book is that although Matt talks about things getting better and living again he doesn't provide much detail on whether he used talking therapies or CBT, he does make it clear that medication wasn't an option for him although doesn't deter his readers from exploring this option. He does highlight the importance of lifestyle choices such as running, meditation and reading. Perhaps he didn't seek professional help form therapists? its not clear. 

But what is clear from the conclusion of Reasons To Stay Alive is that although depression and anxiety are life-changing you can learn to understand and challenge those demons and take the control back.

You can have a future. 

Because I loved this book so much I am giving away three copies, just follow the Rafflecopter link, Giveaway ends 15th January at 11.59.

These giveaway prizes have been purchased independently and this giveaway is not affiliated with the Author


  • The closing date is 15th  January 2018 at 23.59 (GMT).
  • Open to UK residents aged 18 or over
  • Three winners  will receive a copy of Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
  • Entrants must log in via Rafflecopter 
  • Only one entry per Household
  • Winner will be randomly generated by Rafflecopter
  • All entries will be moderated.
  • The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date, and must respond within 7 days to claim their prize.
  • Winners name will be announced on Social media
  • This prize draw is governed by English law and the courts of England shall have exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute arising in connection with it


  1. I love Matt Haig's other books.This would be a great additional read

  2. We learn from experience, our own, and others. I like to try and understand and continue to learn. The book might likely help me to understand anxiety through another person's experience.

    Rachel Craig

  3. I'd like to win because he seems to make more sense of depression than I could express and I think he's done so well to write about it and help others try to understand it.

  4. this would be useful in our life xx

  5. I'd really love to win this. I struggle with mental health issues and it looks like a really positive book to help get you through the dark days.

  6. I have heard so much about it and he is such a good author

  7. I would love to win this book for my best friend as i feel this is something she would like.

  8. I love real-life stories, they really speak to you!

  9. I know someone who has battled depression for some time and who might find encouragement from this personal account.

    - Anthony G.

  10. great title - love to read interesting books like this

  11. I have wanted to read this book for a while! I suffer with depression (over 10years so far) and love a good self help book

  12. I've read another Matt Haig book and loved it. I follow him on social media and really like him.

  13. Suffer from anxiety myself - it would do me good to read of other peoples experiences x

  14. I suffer from depression,have been hospitalised frequently, and it is helpful to see what others experience and what has helped for them

  15. I think we could all use all the help we can get.

  16. I suffer from depression & struggle talking about it with friends/family. But I think it would be great to read about someone elses experience & seeing how they cope/deal with everything. To see it in someone elses perspective!

  17. i have suffered with anxiety and would love to read about his experiences

  18. It sounds like this book might give me more insight into the black dog that follows me around. I hadn't heard of this book until this post!

  19. I would love to win this book for my Daughter.

  20. Need a book to give me a kick up the rear end and realise how much greatness is ahead of me.

  21. I'd love to win this as it seems like an interesting read. Thanks for the competition!

  22. being a carer myself, might give me more of an insught

  23. I would like to win this book as I have friends who have suffered from depression and I want to understand more of what they may have had to deal with.

  24. Looks an interesting read

  25. I've just finished Matt Haig's How to Stop Time and this looks like a great counterpoint/companion. I've suffered anxiety and depression myself and I'm sure it will be relevant and interesting.

  26. I myself often look for reasons to stay alive. I feel this book may give me some guidance.

  27. I have a copy of this book but I have never got round to reading it. However your review has definitely put it to the top of my 'to read' pile. It sounds really interesting and inspiring, I'm looking forward to reading it. Thanks for sharing!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety