Writer Holly Bourne ponders: Am I Normal Yet?
Published on: 07 January 2016 Author: Holly Bourne
Holly Bourne writes about obsessive compulsive disorder in her latest book for teens and young adults. She tells us why - and how it's all part of a feminist trilogy.
Everyone says Am I Normal Yet? is a book about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but I always saw it as a book about relapse.
I wanted to write about how the trauma of a mental health diagnosis can follow you throughout your life. And also, how do you recover from the trauma of your brain doing that to you in the first place?
Relapse was something I saw everyday while working for youth charity website TheSite.org, and I really wanted to shine a light on it. I wanted teens with mental health issues to know that they're not the only ones.
That relapse is often part of recovery. It doesn't mean you're weak or you've let yourself down.
The feminist 'Spinster Club'
Am I Normal Yet? is the first in a trilogy of books about The Spinster Club girls, and feminism is the theme that links them all.
Each book explores a different side of feminism that I found interesting. So, Am I Normal Yet? examines the historical link between females and 'madness'. It asks: 'Are mental health problems an appropriate response to inequality?'
The second book, How Hard Can Love Be? asks if feminism can ever make you happy. It also discusses the 'romantification' of abuse in some YA fiction.
And, finally, the third book (we're still deciding on a title) has ALL THE FEMINISM IN THE WORLD IN IT.
Campaign for change
I don't just want my books to change readers. I want them to inspire readers to campaign for the changes they want to see in society.
The Spinster Club trilogy is essentially my call to arms. And the response I've had from readers has blown me away.
There are already several spinster clubs set up around the UK, and so many who say reading about Evie has made them feel better about their own mental health problems.
I have no words to express what that means to me.