5 out of 5 Stars
*I was provided a copy of Heckled by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*
Exxel Jensen has spent his entire life finding ways to cope with his mental illness. Although his family and friends know he’s depressed, they really don’t know the true extent of it. Exxel lives with another person in his world, a person no one else can see or hear—the Heckler. Drinking, drugs, and cutting help Exxel banish the Heckler, but only temporarily. Exxel has a loving and supportive wife who would do anything to help him, and he also has a baby on the way. He should be happy, but happiness is the one thing Exxel can’t feel.
Heckled is a dark drama that draws you in to the main character’s world from the start. The descriptions of what’s going on inside Exxel’s head leave you feeling the pain, uncertainty, and depression right along with him. While it’s easy to ask how anyone could be unhappy in Exxel’s situation, especially with a beautiful wife and new baby coming, this book drops the reader right into the midst of Exxel’s suffering and provides a deep understanding of what he’s going through.
But the story does even more than that, allowing the reader to see how the people around Exxel feel as well. Depression doesn’t only affect the person who suffers from it. Friends and family are just as involved, and this story does a wonderful job of bringing that to light. Helena is a devoted wife. All she wants is to help Exxel, but how can you help someone who doesn’t even feel worthy of getting help? His mother, brother, and best friend also try in their own way to do what they can for Exxel because they love him.
This book is very real and brings out a lot of emotion. I found myself in tears on several occasions as the characters all struggled through the day to day issues surrounding depression. It’s a very different type of story, and while I wholeheartedly recommend it, it’s definitely not for everyone due to the dark theme.