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Reviewed by Valerie Rouse for Readers' Favorite
And That’s Called Sad by Balint Hancz is a story based on a bright student named Valerie who suffers from severe bouts of depression. Valerie analyzes everything in her life - her friends, job attachments and so on. She also suffers from insomnia and she goes through a myriad of constant mood swings. Her love for literature led her to form close friendships with Isa and Karl. Valerie lacked self-esteem and her friends always encouraged her to go a step further. Isa persuaded Valerie to accept a translator's job, even though she (Valerie) felt that she wasn’t good enough. Valerie’s relationship with her parents was also rocky. She often described her negative interactions with them whenever she returned home. Valerie held on to her dream to relocate to the city of Paris, where she believed that she would be completely happy and at peace.
And That’s Called Sad by Balint Hancz is indeed an appropriate name for this novel. The main character is truly an eccentric personality. The language of the book is colloquial. The insertion of certain expletives enables the reader to grasp the dark mood. The tone of the book changes from acidic to contemplative to coincide with the main character’s frame of mind. I appreciated the detailed descriptions of Valerie’s personal life. This allows the reader to really understand the conflicting emotions of the main character as well as her personality. I enjoyed the use of the word “I” along with numerous commas to format huge paragraphs, especially the last paragraph in the final chapter. This clever tactic engages the reader in experiencing the incessant chatter in Valerie's mind. This creates a realistic viewpoint about the symptoms of depression. In total, this book is a poignant tale about mental illness.