Without Merit depicts depression realistically

As someone who personally struggles with depression, I am always on the lookout for books that realistically depict what depression is really like. When I read Without Merit by Colleen Hoover, it instantly became one of my favorite books, for exactly this reason. This book is one of the things that showed me it is okay to not be okay, and that mental health shouldn’t be taboo.

Without Merit follows a 17-year-old girl named Merit Voss through her rough life at home with her dysfunctional family and her journey with her mental health. Merit’s family is not your normal family. She and her siblings have all drifted apart over the years and have many secrets with and from each other, and her parents went through a complicated divorce. Merit’s family situation caused her a lot more problems than she would like to let on. While this is the root of many of her struggles, it all started to come to the surface when she met Sagan. Merit’s feelings for Sagan cause a lot of guilt in Merit and makes a lot of her bottled up trauma come bursting back up to the surface. 

Like many of Colleen Hoover’s books, Without Merit touches on some very serious topics, so if depression and self-harm and sexual assault are triggering to you, I would not recommend this book. However, if you are not triggered by those topics, I would highly recommend this book. Even if you do not struggle with it personally, this book can be very eye opening to the reality of depression.

My favorite quote from Without Merit, talks about how depression can be more of an invisible illness: “I found out that depression doesn’t necessarily mean a person is miserable or suicidal all the time. Indifference is also a sign of depression.”

I myself used to think that depression meant that you were in a constant state of sadness, and that it was an absence of all happy emotions. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many people don’t even know that they are depressed. Even people who seem the happiest and most outgoing on the outside can be depressed. Books like Without Merit are so important to read, because they bring to light the unfortunate reality of depression and other mental health struggles.

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