Book Review | “all in her head” by Sunny Mera #FRC2015 No.1

Posted Tuesday, 1 March, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

BookSparks University | #FRC2015 Banner by BookSparks.

I had fully intended to read my #FRC2015 selections hugged closer to the months of Autumn and early Winter, however, my dear hearted readers of whom have caught my posts relating to circumstances which wicked out hours and derailed my attempts to read along with the rest of the book bloggers who took up the same challenge are already in the loop realising my readings of these stories will come quite a bit later than planned.

To recap the events for those who are visiting me for the first time,
please direct your attention to the following posts:

What turnt this whole situation around for me, is being able to talk to the publicists at BookSparks on two separate occasions when I felt I was treading water as I knew time had wicked itself off the clock and I was at a proper loss as to where to ‘begin’ despite the fact I have a shelf full of BookSparks reading challenge and blog tour lovelies to read which I’ve been itching with curiosity about since they each arrived and/or since I first met them through my local library who purchased my requests on behalf of the #SRC2015 and #FRC2015 selections.

I had felt quite a bit guilty regarding the latter, as despite having my purchase requests accepted and added to the card catalogue: time was unfortunately never on my side to soak inside the stories themselves. There was an unexpected moment of clarity though about my requests, where I found myself talking to different librarians and finding they were encouraged to read new authors of whom they never would have ‘met’ had I not requested the reading challenge titles! Talk about putting everything into a different prospective of understanding!

This marks my fourth review overall spilt between #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful and #FRC2015, however, it is the very first Fall Reading Challenge selection I am reading as blessedly I was encouraged to ‘reverse the list’ in order to best highlight the books being highlighted between Autumn 2015 and Winter 2016. I am simply happy to be in a position to lay heart and mind inside the stories I’ve dearly wanted to read and now can give them my full attention!Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I originally found BookSparks PR Spring 2014, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them this Spring to see if I could join the challenge in 2015 instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel, “The Sheperdess of Siena”. 

I started to participate in #SRC2015 during Summer 2015 until lightning storms quickly overtook my life and the hours I could give to the reading challenge. Summer ended hard and with a newfound resolve to pick up where I had left off, I posted as many reviews on behalf of BookSparks blog tours and/or the three reading challenges I had committed myself to participate inside (i.e. #SRC2015, #ReadingIsBeautiful (YA version), and #FRC2015).

I elected to read “All In Her Head” via the complimentary copy I received by BookSparks as the library copy I had requested is happily being read by other patrons. By participating in the #FRC2015 challenge I am reading the novels in exchange for my honest reviews; whether I am receiving a complimentary copy or borrowing them through my local library. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

My selection process for #FRC2015:

As a book blogger, one of the things I recognise that helps me grow as a reader is to be open-minded about story-lines, character journeys, topics and subjects that might continuously push me outside my comfort zones to endeavour to read. There is a reading challenge I found in 2014 called Mental Health Awareness Month which I had wanted to join a part of but ending up following a fellow book bloggers on their journey inside the books which would celebrate the theme of the challenge. The diversity of choices these bloggers elected to read and how they in-turn blogged about their experiences never left my conscience as part of why I happily shared my views about #EqualityInLit during the #AtoZChallenge of 2014 was to capitalise on how wide a range Diversity and Equality in Literature truly reaches.

Therefore, when I came across ‘all in her head’ on the listing of choices for the Fall Reading Challenge via BookSparks my interest was piqued and I decided to add my name to the list of book bloggers who would be interested in reading this selection. At the same time, I was mindful of how many friends throughout my life have been affected by mental illness and have striven to seek a better state of mental wellness; as nothing is as clear cut as it may first seem when it comes to the psychology of a person’s health.

I champion writers who have a personal conviction towards writing Mental Health issues into their stories as much as the writers who have a personal experience with Mental Health which encourages their creative voice to give a more honest and authentic touch to the stories they are creating to share a bit of insight into their life and world. Previously, I have touched subjects where characters felt they were in the middle of an insurrection where they had to live through or move past a life moment which carried with it a resounding affirmation of how to rise above your tribulations through a buoy of hope as read inside: Etched On Me by Jenn Crowell (review); The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde (review); Chain of Mercy by Brenda S. Anderson (review); The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler (review); Hannah Both Ways by Rosie Greenway (review) and Some Other Town by Elizabeth Collison (review) wherein characters were attempting to work through a life obstacle which tested their strength of will.

Prior to re-beginning my readings of BookSparks selected authors and stories across genres, I have found a newfound appetite for Feminist-driven stories evoking an honest portrait of women’s issues and rights being explored in fiction. This new appreciation of mine is best seen on my recent reviews of The Renegade Queen by Eva Flynn (review), The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley by Susan Örnbratt (review), Emmy Nation: Undercover Suffragette by L. Davis Munro (review) and Daughter of Destiny by Nicole Evelina (review).

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Book Review | “all in her head” by Sunny Mera #FRC2015 No.1all in her head
by Sunny Mera
Source: Direct from Publicist

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781631528187

Genres: Biography / Autobiography, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Memoir, Motherhood | Parenthood, Psychology & Cognitive Science, Psychopathology, Women's Fiction, Women's Studies


Published by She Writes Press

on 10th November, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 184

written by Sunny Mera | Site | @MeraSunny

Published By:She Writes Press (@shewritespress)
originated from She Writes (@shewritesdotcom)
an imprint of Spark Points Studio LLCGoSparkPoint (@GoSparkPoint)
& BookSparks
(@BookSparks)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #allinherhead & #FRC2015

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Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

All in Her Head: A Novel by CSPtrade2

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

My Review of all in her head:

Mera begins her novel rooted in the real-life events which shaped the story to take substance out of her memories and to etch them onto pages where ink would give them flight to readers. We take a quick journey back through her childhood, raised in a strict community of faith and an upbringing that was threaded through the religious background her parents wanted their children to have in their lives. Told in a retrospective voice where memory and time can soften the harder edges of stronger memories, herein Mera has a tone of introspection and self-directed box of antidotes from the younger years of her life.

The main takeaway by this Introduction was to give us a grounding of what Mera felt as she had to re-adjust to a life where her father abandoned his family after divorce and proceeded to live a life outside of contact. It’s a difficult moment for any child to reconcile and there are little bits of forbearing tidbits to ascertain this would have a lifelong effect on Sunny.

all in her head begins at the moment of conception where we start to see how unravelled Sunny’s confidence grows into a thin line as she tries to sort through an onslaught of emotions coursing through her as if the moon was bringing in high tide. Her innermost fears ran parallel to self-doubt; about her responsibility to be self-reliant to handle raising a child but also, to be the whole of whom she was growing to being herself, as the news of her pregnancy arrived on the celebratory news of graduate school. Even in this earliest account of her life, we start to see where reality and unreality start to merge, where thoughts and dreams inter-swirl together with living memory and how deciphering which was real out of the context of the whole was a bit of a blur.

Sprinkled throughout this insightful journalling narrative of thought, we find how Sunny is attempting to downplay her fears by staying informed and knowledgeable about what alienates her and what she feels is the best way to re-direct her mind. This includes reading a classic book on mumhood about what to expect during the day of birth and how a woman’s body and experience of being a mother can change the moment where Mum and babe interact for the first time. It’s quite heart-warming seeing how Mera has chosen to highlight certain critical moments any expecting Mum could relate too, as every-woman has their own time table for self-doubt and questionable concerns which arise when you advance out of your singleton years and enter into motherhood; especially when your hormones are firing too many signals for you to process all at once. These are plausible concerns, especially when it was about lead poisoning and about things which may or may not hurt the unbourne child. She keeps the peppering of these antidotes light yet philosophically inviting to the reader.

One of Sunny’s fears was not a fear at all – but rather a motherly intuitive recognition of danger where she was able to sort fact from fiction without realising how well she understood the health risks her husband was putting himself and his young family into as he was steadfast stubborn whilst not taking lead exposure seriously until his own life was afflicted. This is a subtle turning of the novel, where we start to focus on how Sunny left her fears behind her and turnt to a suggestion in the original text she had read about birthing: using orgasms to strengthen your natural ability to birth with a lesser amount of pain and struggle. This self-realisation that she could control her organisms and use this method as a way to help her give birth was an awakening moment of empowerment.

What did not help was her overwhelming attraction to her doctor, irregardless of how irrational she felt it sounded to her own mind, heart and ears – she felt this instinctive magnetism for the doctor who was going to be delivering her first bourne daughter. Chalk it up to hormones or one woman’s intense desire re-igniting during her third trimester, Sunny could no more deny her feelings than get the swirlment of ecstasy out of her mind. Much to her chagrin, she spent a considerable amount of time self-assessing her thoughts, feelings and emotional strife in this regard; having self-talks with herself to thoroughly examine and re-distribute the angle in which she perceived what was happening to her from another point of view. She owned her experience but she did not understand how others’ would invalidate it on her behalf and seek to place her under a scrutiny of shame.

The hardest part about reading all in her head is how depressingly gutting it is to watch a woman go through the motions of the beginning years of motherhood without a solid support system; save a few kind-hearted friends who put things on her path which aided her journey. Her mental health was on a sliding descent of decline and the marriage she once celebrated was all but shattered; not out of any fault of her own, but on the level her spouse did not fully understand one of his vows (‘in sickness’) and the full measure of what accepting this particular vow would have meant for him in regards to his (lack of) empathy or his inaction (non-belief in his wife’s condition) to help rectify Sunny on an even keel of a reality she could fully embrace.

The novel cuts through slices of a personal journal where we enter the thoughts and the fears, rambling over each other in a succession of paranoid and non-paranoid suppositions about what Sunny felt she was living through in comparison to what was actually happening. Glimmers and clues towards how to reflect back on where reality stepped off the path, and where this ‘other reality’ fully grabbed a hold of her on a deep sensory vein of connection.

This novelisation of her IRL journey is what makes me view this as “#fiction IRL” because it’s approach is to disconnect a bit from the passageways of the life that was actually lived and reconnect to the readers on a line of plausible inclusion where the heart of the journey is openly shared. This is an incredible self-directed personal study on the mental warfare of one woman’s mind and emotional stabilising exodus back to her own personal baseline of where everything is kinetically in sync with her natural biorhythms.

A thought-provoking work of fiction addressing Mental Health & Wellness:

The author’s note is personally touching as it’s a glimmer of insight into the real-life and world of Sunny Mera who openly discloses her own walk with Mental Health & Wellness, as being attributed to first postpartum delusional disorder and then after more years than I can imagine she was able to live through received a different diagnosis completely: schizophrenia. It is through this address at the start of the novel you realise the story your about to read is partially autobiographical and is partially a discourse in studying what is real, imagined and otherwise unclassified as being ‘experienced’.

Although this is a work of fiction, the method in which Mera delivers the story is bonefide memoir in style and voice – she has found a way to tell a story within the novelising manner of personality but with the undercurrent frankness of a memoir which gets to the heart of the truth and whose writer owns the life they’ve led in such a way as to properly purport the reader directly inside their shoes.

In regards to ‘orgasmic labour’ I happen to know a bit about this as I was watching one of those reality series where you half wonder what clued you into viewing that particular channel at that particular hour only to recognise you were learning about something you never heard of – thus, began my understanding of ‘orgasmic spontaneous behaviours’ which in the serial episode I was watching had to deal with a woman’s responsive trigger to sexual contact and the aftereffects of dealing with an non-off switch to exit the sensations her body was automatically sending her without contact. In of itself, it was a unique topic to broach on a reality series, but in the end, the diagnosis was not entirely bleak as they were able to control the onset of the symptoms through medication for mental health practices. (I am a bit foggy on the exact details) As I started to pick up reading all in her head I returnt in mind to this other woman who experienced ‘orgasms’ in such an uncontrollable state and how that had a direct effect on her well-being, work / family / social life and her daily hours fraught with dealing with something ‘not yet able to be diagnosed’. And, people still criticise television for not expanding horizons!

This should definitely be included as a primer for Psychology and Sociology students at University who want to understand the line between what is known and what is already studied. To take into consideration the truth of how everyone is individually unique and that each person’s physiological internal make-up is not meant to be replicated but understood for the uniqueness that makes them an individual. Health, Wellness, Spirituality and the psychology of being human should be seen as a wholly personal experience whose ownership of life experiences are not meant to be exclusively shared by the whole but accepted as being authentically real to the person whose life has walked a footpath testament to it’s truth. 

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This book review is courtesy of: BookSparks

{ click the banner for more information on #FRC2015! }

BookSparks University #FRC2015 logo badge provided by BookSparks.

This is my first review for #FRC2015!

#FRC2015 No. 2 : Postcards from the Sky by Erin Siedemann

Read the full listings of my #FRC2015 selections!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Previously, I reviewed two #SRC2015 challenge books:

The Grown-Ups (review) + wishful Thinking (Review)

As well as my 1st #ReadingIsBeautiful Challenge book:

Blonde Eskimo (review)!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Readers | Books Bloggers : Impressions of All In Her Head via #FRC2015:

{ a quick search + the twitterverse provided me the road map! }

This is not an ordered list as I simply found links in succession of each other. There are a heap of book bloggers per title during #FRC2015; therefore this is an abridged list of reviewers. This doesn’t count the fact the reading challenge is open to the public for those who are either borrowing the books via their local libraries and/or purchasing copies outright to read and review for their own edification and joy. Be sure to follow the #FRC2015 tag on Twitter to find more opinions.

#FRC2015 All in Her Head: A Novel by Sunny Mera | 2014 and Beyond

All in Her Head by Sunny Mera | Country Girl Bookaholic

+

Q&A with Sunny Mera | Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb

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Be sure to visit my Bookish Events for (2016)

#FRC2015 Fall Reading Challenge hosted by BookSparks, official participant badge.

to see what I’m hosting next during #FRC2015!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst bloggers who picked up the same story to read.

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{SOURCES: The #FRC2015 badges (“All In Her Head” blog tour, Banner for BookSparks Fall Reading Challenge and the regular ‘blog tour’) and the #FRC2015 BookSparks University badge and student ID badge were all provided by BookSparks and used with permission. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Book Excerpt was able to be embedded due to codes provided by Scribd. Buy links on Scribd are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2016.

I’m a social reader, tweeting as I read:

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #FRC2015 | BookSparks

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Tuesday, 1 March, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, 21st Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book for University Study, BookSparks, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Diary Accountment of Life, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Journal, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Medical Fiction, Memoir, Mental Health, Modern Day, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Nurses & Hospital Life, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Sociological Behavior, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Vignettes of Real Life, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Rights




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