BRING ME HOME by NICOLA HAKEN

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“The thing with my platform if that’s what you want to call it, or social media, is most people don’t want your opinion. They want to hear their own views told back to them in your voice. Also, if I’m being honest, I don’t like the word awareness. We need to stop using that word. I don’t think there’s anybody who isn’t aware of autism anymore. At this point, we’re all aware, there are just people who choose to be ignorant fucks. Same with mental health, sexuality, gender. They’re aware…They just choose not to care.”

Bring Me Home by Nicola Haken is truly one of the most beautiful, emotional, and REAL books we’ve read this year.  We love highlighting quotes and passages when we read, words that either resonate with us or stand out because of their beauty, heartbreak, love, or joy. We chose a handful of these for our review to try and convey the story and our emotions. Well, with Bring Me Home we have highlighted over ten pages worth, whole pages and so many gems of emotion that we will struggled to choose just a few for this review.

‘I’d grown up knowing I was different, that something in my head wasn’t working properly, and I couldn’t understand why no one could fix it. How could they? I’d think. I couldn’t talk to people.’

Hugo and Helen’s story can at times read a bit like a fanfic borne out of love for Harry Styles, however classing it as only that, would be a great disservice to this Author. The writing is phenomenal, the characters incredible and the themes so very relevant. Mental health, people’s daily battles, spectrum disorders, or even ‘just’ day-to-day struggles with who we are or want to be because society strives for perfection. We say ‘just’ but really, there’s nothing just ‘just’ about it. The struggles are real, they can’t be measured, and they can’t be generalised, nor do they fit in a -one size fits all- box. Everyone’s struggles or difficulties are valid.

“Heli, the scales can only give you a numerical reflection of your body’s relationship with gravity. They can’t tell you how pretty your smile is, how cute this dimple is or how compassionate your heart is. They won’t tell you how loved you are or how you just being in a room with someone can make them feel like the most important person in the fucking world…”

Transparency, understanding, presence, and guidance are so vital, as is reassurance and ‘being there’ for the differences, for the break-downs, for the highs as well as the lows. Bring Me Home is a journey, a story of life, love, and perceived social expectations and gratifications. It is not an easy read at times but it’s beautiful in its acute relevance as it bares its soul to the reader, word by word.

‘I couldn’t see the point of life if we didn’t feel it. The sound above was just a sound. The cedar tree in the distance, nothing but an image. The music had gone, the beauty, the purpose. I’d become a shell. A robot. I could move but I wasn’t alive. Life didn’t exist when you couldn’t hear lyrics in a bird’s song, when you didn’t see a view looking at a century old tree. Life without art, without passion, made no sense.’

The way in which Nicola Haken wrote Hugo Hayes and Helen Jenkins’ childhood friendship and adult romance was incredibly raw, incredibly honest, and incredibly realistic. There are no quick fixes for what people can face, some things can’t even, in all truthfulness, be fixed. Yet friendship and love can make them easier to live with because with love comes understanding, compassion, and acceptance. Love can come in so many guises and people can come in all shapes of colourful tapestry. So yes, we cried, we laughed, and we fell in love. We questioned, we tutted, we despaired, and we celebrated. What a truly compelling and stunning journey we were on with Hugo and Heli. One we cannot recommend highly enough. This is not simply just storytelling, Bring Me Home is an experience!

“You can stop hiding now, Hugo. I’ve found you. I’m not leaving and you’re going to be okay. Now, sleep. Sleep and remember I love you.”
I just hope it’s enough to save you.