With school winding down and March Madness at work, I haven’t had a ton of time to read for fun. Before the craziness began, however, I devoured Rae Earl’s My Mad Fat Diary.
When I was in college, my roommate tweeted at one of the stars of the show (adapted from the memoir) and he responded which she took to mean they were getting married and insisted I watch it.
I settled in to watch it one night before classes started and binged almost the entire first season in one night (you can watch it here). As school got underway, football season began and friends from all over the country were finally all in one place, I never got to finish watching it.
Then, a few months ago, I stumbled across the memoir and immediately bought it.
The memoir is the actual diary of Rae Earl from the year 1989 when she was 17, living in Lincolnshire and recently released from a psychiatric ward.
I can’t get over how brave Earl is publishing her diary. Have you ever found an old diary from your teenage years? Can you imagine publishing it for the world? I’m so glad she did though! It’s incredibly relatable (a completely generic word but there really is nothing better).
Feeling like your parent doesn’t understand you? Check. Not realizing your friends are using you? Check. Unrequited crushes? Check.
The whole time I read it, all I could think was, you couldn’t pay me to be 17 again!
It also highlights something I don’t think people talk about enough: mental illness and getting trapped in your own head. She writes of her issues with anxiety and food, drawing you into her thoughts and private world in an intimate way.
In an interview with The Telegraph she said, “when the thoughts were bad, I used to burn my arms with match ends or hit myself in the face with a shoe. I just didn’t feel there was anything else I could do to get me through normal life.”
She not only opens her life to the reader but her mind too.
Don’t be mistaken, there are hilarious parts of the memoir but unlike many memoirs I’ve read, she doesn’t cover up the issues and the hard times. Life is never perfect and she makes no illusions that it was at the time.
I would definitely recommend My Mad Fat Diary. It will make you laugh, cringe and think about what people portray to the world may not be what’s going on in their heads.
If you have read My Mad Fat Diary, what did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!