I Am an Island by Tamsin Calidas

This book was very hard to read. It made me sad and angry, it broke my heart so many times it’s impossible to count, and I still loved it.

It’s difficult to write about this book. It should be covered in trigger warnings. There’s everything in it, every possible horrible thing that can happen in someone’s life. I read it slowly, very slowly as I needed lots of breaks from it.

There’s a lot of darkness there, but there are also small glimmers of light and it’s good to focus on them while reading. This book is about abuse and isolation, but it’s also a story about strength and hope, about nature and becoming, about love and friendship.

I found myself in this story many times over, even though my experiences are nothing like Tamsin‘s. But this is it. You don’t have to move to a small island to feel isolated and not accepted. The name calling, the hatred just because you’re different, the angry talk because you dare to do things your way and to step into a role that wasn’t meant to be yours, I know it all. Nothing can match what Tamsin went through though. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

The perseverance and the strength Tamsin needed to survive are unimaginable. Finding yourself in all the loneliness and adversity and then staying true to yourself is an act of courage. In any society.

But I also know that one friend who’s always there for you. The safety one person can give you, the warmth of true friendship. I choose to see this book as a tribute to the good in people and to staying true to yourself and following your heart.

Yes, it’s a book about adversity, but it’s also about being the change you want to see around you.