Fiction

The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

About the Book

Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.

What I thought

I was approached by the author of this book and asked if I would be interested in reading it. I was given a physical paperback copy of the book to read. Firstly before starting on the content I have to say that whilst the cover is very plain I was impressed by the quality of the book which is printed by Amazon. Thick pages, a thick cover and lovely clear, bold and fairly large text. Brilliant for someone like me whose eyesight isn’t what it once was. As I mainly read e-books and usually get a bit frustrated and irritated by paperbacks, this was a really pleasant experience. A fantastic quality paperback.

So to the story. I wasn’t too sure before I started whether this was a non fiction book. It covers in quite some depth what it is like living with OCD and extreme anxiety. Whilst it is fictional and tells a story, albeit a short one, I’m guessing it is told very much from the heart and through personal experience of the author.

Amy lives alone in her flat – her ‘safe place’ as she thinks of it. Most of the story surrounds her workplace and her work colleagues, some of whom are also very good friends. She struggles with much of daily life due to her anxiety, from taking public transport to work, to the out of work hours drinks, nights out and other social aspects of work. Because of her OCD she really struggles with socialising. A simple meal out and drink in a pub sets off all kinds of anxiety’s for Amy and she often finds herself making excuses not to go and not to take part.

Throughout the book, Amy talks mainly about her mental health and her anxiety and how it affects her life. For the reader, I imagine a person who suffers themselves from chronic anxiety would take comfort from identifying with the character of Amy and knowing that their feelings weren’t unique to them alone. For a reader such as myself, it allows us to see how mental health issues such as anxiety affect every aspect of the sufferers life and how hard it can be for them to fit in and do all the usual things that we non sufferers take for granted.

It does have a story to it as well, when luckily for everyone who works at Amy’s place, they are all taken to Australia to work over there. This is when the story takes off and there is even a little romance in here too. The character of Ed was someone who you could easily fall in love with yourself, he was such a kind and thoughtful person. Nathan as well, he turned out to be a superhero in the end. Once they went on the trip to Australia and after their return is when the writing starts to develop all the supporting characters in the book further. There’s more dialogue and you get to know more about each one.

It all turned out to be a really enjoyable read. It was different, very insightful and well written. I enjoyed it very much in the end and perhaps a sequel might be written? I would love to know what happened next with both Amy and the other characters in the story.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

♥ Happy Reading ♥


The book is available on Amazon, both on Kindle and in paperback.

With thanks to Lana Grace Riva for a copy of the book for review.

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