Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Have Mental Illnesses

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Books Which Feature Characters Who _____ (are musically inclined, have lost someone, have depression, who grow up poor, etc.)

I decided to go with ten characters who have mental illnesses, as it is something I’ve always been interested in. The brain is such a strange organ. I think mental illnesses are a really important thing to talk, read, and write about; continuing to talk about mental illnesses (because they ARE an illness and not something you can change or easily get over) will help to get rid of the stigma surrounding them. I fully appreciate the rise in books, especially young adult books, that deal with mental illness. It’s SO important for teens and adults to know that they aren’t alone.

  1. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia: Paranoid Schizophrenia, Alex
  2. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga: Depression, Aysel
  3. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini: Depression, Craig
  4. The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder: Bipolar Disorder, Zoe
  5. Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Matthew
  6. Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer: depression, Jam
  7. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: Eating Disorder, Lia
  8. The Chance You Won’t Return by Annie Cardi: Nervous Breakdown, Thought Disorder, Alex’s mom (I can’t for the life of me remember if she actually has a name)
  9. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick: Depression, Leonard Peacock
  10. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: Bipolar Disorder, Pat

This is in no way an exhaustive list. Please feel free to leave more in the comments!

20 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Characters Who Have Mental Illnesses

  1. Oh, we had the same subject for TTT! Yes, it is very important that we put this long-overdue stigma to the torch (so to speak) and we can only achieve this by engaging in thoughtful, sensitive conversations. I also noticed the rise in YA books that tackle this matter and I like what I’m seeing and where it’s headed. Um, you might want to check out All the Bright Places and The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley. I’ve heard fantastic things about Mosquitoland and Challenger Deep as well.

  2. I’m still waiting for copies from the library, but I’ve heard great things about both The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B (OCD) and Challenger Deep (schizophrenia). I’m looking forward to reading Made You Up as well.

  3. Excellent topic this week! I’ve seen a definite increase in the amount of fiction surrounding all kinds of mental illness and it is fab! Because it isn’t “seen” people don’t realise how “real” it is, unfortunately, that also means a lot of people can, as we say, rip the arse out of it and pretend they suffer from certain afflictions when they don’t, contributing to the overall misunderstanding of the issues real sufferers face. R x

    My TTT:

    • Completely agree. There’s a certain lack of information and knowledge about mental illnesses and people tend to confuse them. Like someone will say they are depressed today, when really, they’re just sad. Depression is not the same as sadness. But books like these will continue to help spread that knowledge.

  4. Great list! And a very pertinent topic. Amen to your opening paragraph! I did mine on books that feature redheads: my TTT. Happy reading!

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