Book Review: Chase the Rainbow by Poorna Bell

A while back I received this book on the post and it came with a letter from the author, Poorna Bell. I had a feeling from the beginning that this was going to be a very special book, and I was not wrong: 

Title: Chase the Rainbow
Author: Poorna Bell
Published: May 4th 2017 by Simon & Schuster 

Blurb: An honest yet uplifting account of a woman's life affected (but not defined) by the suicide of her husband and the deadly paradox of modern-day masculinity.

Punk rocker, bird nerd and book lover Rob Bell had a full, happy life. He had a loving wife, a big-bottomed dog named Daisy and a career as a respected science journalist. But beneath the carefully cultivated air of machoism and the need to help other people, he struggled with mental health and a drug addiction that began as a means to self-medicate his illness. In 2015, he ended his life in New Zealand on a winter’s night. 

But what happened? How did a middle-class Catholic boy from the suburbs, who had an ocean of people who loved him, and a brain the size of a planet, end up dying alone by his own hand? How did it get to this point? 

In the search to find out about the man she loved, and how he arrived at that desperate, dark moment, Poorna Bell, Executive Editor of The Huffington Post UK, went on a journey spanning New Zealand, India and England to discover more about him.

A month after his death, she shared her personal tragedy in an open letter to Rob on the site, which went on to be read by hundreds of thousands of people across the world. This is Poorna’s story, not only of how she met the man of her dreams and fell in love, but also Rob’s story and how he suffered with depression since childhood and had secretly been battling addiction as a means to cope with the illness.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and a staggering 1 in 4 of us will experience mental illness disease at some point in our lives, but the stigma surrounding mental health means that millions still suffer in silence.

Chase the Rainbow is an affecting, poetic, and deeply personal journey which teaches to seek hope and happiness, even in the most tragic of circumstances. Shattering the stigma surrounding depression and suicide, Poorna Bell challenges us talk about what we most fear, and to better understand the personal struggles of those closest to us.

Review: As soon as I read the blurb for this book, I knew this was going to be a very special story. And I was not wrong. Poorna Bell holds nothing back as she tells us about her story and her husband's. A story of battling depression and drug addiction, a story of love, a story of grief, but above all, a story that reminds us how important and necessary it is to talk about mental health and suicide openly. 

A really raw and honest writing captures you from page one. As Poorna meets Rob, everything seems to finally click for them. It makes you forget for a bit that there won't be a happy ending for them. But soon Poorna slowly uncovers all the secrets and lies Rob told her. Lies that completely broke her heart and even broke mine a little. I cannot even imagine what they must have gone through but unfortunately, for many people, their story will resonate.That's why I think this book is so important. It teaches the reader a lot, not only about depression and addiction but also how mental health is still a taboo in our society and why this is so wrong.

I found it really interesting how Poorna Bell has extensively researched these topics and has intertwined the opinion of experts and her own opinions and finding with her narrative. I was never bored with it, quite the contrary, it has left me wanting to know more and talk more. 

But above all, this is a stunning book. It's incredible sad but also uplifting. A book that will leave no one indifferent and I hope it reaches many many readers. A highly recommended read. 

Rating: 5 stars

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. This is my honest opinion.

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