It was a quiet Wednesday noon, when I read Mrs. Yu’s blog. She enthusiastically recommended the novel < Imagine Us Happy >
There must be a lot of book reviews in English. However, I don’t know if there are any reviews in Chinese. So I wanted to read < Imagine Us Happy >
At first, I usually look at the cover and back of the novel. Then I would look over the pages from beginning to end quickly. What caught my attention was how the preface was not followed by Chapter 1, but 68. Each chapter is not too long, but some have title names and others did not. Why? My curiosity was piqued by these unusual elements.
After reading this book in a day, I closed the cover and touched it gently. A sunny, healthy, intelligent, and humane young author emerges in my mind.
Stella, the protagonist in < Imagine Us Happy >, is a girl who is physically and mentally exhausted. Her parents are arguing all day long. She is unsure about her future. And as a junior student in high school, her anxiety is like the dust on the table. Hopelessness seems to flood Stella whenever she goes, be it her house, the neighborhood, or school campus. Yet her feelings remain undetected from the outside.
I want to express the following two points after reading Jen’s novel:
First, people sometimes are accompanied by a deep sense of incompetence.
Even the deceased Princess Diana was deeply tortured and hurt by her broken marriages. Life is a plot of ups and downs. On the “road of smoke”, no one can promise you that it will be sunny in the whole life. It is your own striving heart that can settle and ultimately save yourself.
Second, life without love is very tragic. Family, friendship, and love affect young adults.
Love is simple, but exactly how simple? Love can be found by sharing. Stella's boyfriend Kevin is also afflicted with depression. Their self-worth is biased, not objective, yet Stella and Kevin feel their love from each other's eyes. Feelings of inferiority and anxiety are not so embarrassing in the eyes of the other lover. They feel less lonely while they are together. However, they can't care more about it apart from warming each other.
As Stella’s depression seems to improve, her inner drives that were initially concealed start to come out. At this time, the driving force of Stella’s will gradually increase and she regains self-confidence and tries to reintegrate into society. By that moment, Stella and Kevin break up, because they both realize that their relationship is too toxic for both of them. Stella has her life. And Kevin has his own journey.
Resolutions are like days ending in winter, when the nights last longer than the day. All joys and sorrows begin to seem funny and absurd. Then, spring comes again, and everything reshuffles itself.
Many years ago, during my internship at medical school, I knew that the most exciting thing for me was the baby room in the obstetrical department. Yet the most uncomfortable thing for me was the burn and plastic surgery department. Although I didn’t work in these two departments, I thought I should be calmer than most people. However, I still feel sad for the cruelties in life, especially when seeing children and teenagers suffer and struggle through their growth into adulthood.
I was moved by Imagine Us Happy ’s fearlessness in looking directly at mental wounds. What courage it takes to tell stories about sadness and decompression? Who would enjoy telling such stories? We are alive, yet our fates can be so easily destroyed. How can it not hurt? Scars are not necessarily shameful, but are the marks of growth.
I wish that children could bathe in the sunlight and have self-confidence in themselves.
I hope that parents can understand their children. The moment will only be exchanged for an engraving. Please be patient and wait for them to grow up. Whenever they are exposed to the storm, they will go home for shelter. The house is getting older every day, and we hope for the warmth of the sun that will stave off the cold.
Sometimes, forgetting can be difficult. I hope that the children understand that parents are like every ordinary person. Even if it is awkward, forgive each other and face the present and the future bravely together.
For children who are unfortunately suffering from mental illness, I would like to gently touch their heads and say, “Sleep, children, sleep well, then wake up and read”. I hope the words of literature will resonate with your soul, giving you energy to dissolve the knot and to cope with the twists and turns of life.
Here, let me pay tribute to the young people who have extended their hands to their friends.
There was half a day of leisure, writing essays upon essays. No matter how deep, affectionate, or infatuated I felt, my brushstrokes are my true feelings, revealing the real inner world. Therefore, I feel that I can understand the author's heart - --- Pay tribute to Jennifer Yu.
The words in this book faintly glimpse into the rich pearl of the soul. I wish Jennifer Yu well on the road of chasing her dreams, one step at a time.
I am happy, so I am here.
By Ling Lan
November 10, 2018