Book Review: The Balance Between Life and Death

Book cover: The Balance Between Life and Death by Elizabeth Holland

The Balance Between Life and Death is a novella by Elizabeth Holland, who you may know from her blog Anxiety and Liz.

The intro says “This novella focuses on the importance of putting your mental health first. A reminder that you never know what someone is hiding beneath their smile.”

The protagonist is a young woman named Ana Adams.  “The smile on her face means nothing, all that matters is the turmoil that is going on inside her head.”

The book begins 10 years before with Ana finding her father dead by suicide.  It then shifts to the present day, when Ana begins seeing a therapist to start working through her trauma.

Around the same time, she begins a romantic relationship, and the reader finds out more about Ana’s history as she shares it with her new boyfriend.

After experiencing a crisis, Ana is able to move forward in a new way, and the book ends with a sense of optimism for the future.

The book does a good job of presenting Ana’s mental health issues in an accessible and easily understandable way, and the reader gets a good sense of who Ana is as a person.  Suicide is addressed directly without any beating around the bushes, but it’s done in a way that’s not likely to be triggering for readers.  The romance brings a nice sense of lightness to balance out some of the darker bits.  Overall, a very good read.

And on a side note, after reading that Ana changed from pumps into heels, I learned that pumps refers to a very different kind of shoe depending on which side of the Atlantic you live on.  Heels in North America, flats in the U.K.  Who knew?

The Balance Between Life and Death is available on Amazon (affiliate link).

Visit Liz on her blog Anxiety and Liz.

You can find my other reviews on the MH@H book review index or on Goodreads.

Straight talk on suicide - graphics of phoenix and semicolon

The Straight Talk on Suicide page has crisis and safety planning resources, along with info on suicide-related topics from the perspective of someone who’s been there.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Balance Between Life and Death”

  1. haha I just wrote “beating around the bush” in comments on your last book review and wa la I just read it here in this post…….great minds, yup
    Sounds like a good book

  2. This sounds like an interesting read. I already feel for Ana knowing how she found her father, that’s the kind of thing that can cut a reader deep if the author’s able to generate the sense of empathy and realism. As for the pumps, I’ve noticed that difference before but probably because I watch and read a lot of American stuff. Pumps and heels, pants and trousers 😂
    By the way, I’ve had some issues with the like button so if you get a few notifications (not sure if you get those by email or not) of weird things happening then it’s just me being a moron with going back over posts to relike them! x

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