Conversations surrounding mental illness can often feel uncomfortable or potentially too sensitive to discuss. However, now more than ever, people have started to raise their voices about mental illness. Being comfortable talking about these hard topics is extremely beneficial for those dealing with a variety of mental illnesses. When we talk, we improve.
Our July pick for the LDS Living Book Club is: Waiting for Fitz by Spender Hyde. Waiting for Fitz is a fictional story about Addie, a teenage girl dealing with OCD who is admitted to an adolescent psychiatric ward in Seattle. While in the ward, Addie meets other teenagers who have a variety of mental and emotional disorders. Restricted to the walls of the unit, these friends become each other’s lifeline as they try and escape from the ward in order to discover what life has in store for them.
Inspired by his own journey with OCD, Spencer Hyde hopes that this book will help struggling teenagers relate to these characters as it emphasizes the importance of friendship.
Please join us this month as we read and enjoy Waiting for Fitz together. Follow the LDS Living Book Club on Instagram for weekly reading assignments, extra video insights from Spencer Hyde himself as he discusses the book and mental health awareness, and, of course, experiences from fellow readers. You can find Waiting for Fitz at Deseret Book.
We will be hosting a live event on Wednesday, July 10, at the Deseret Book Flagship store in Salt Lake City at 7:00 pm. Please join us for a fireside with Spencer followed with by a Q&A. We are excited to hear from Spencer about his life spent dealing with OCD, his career as a professor and author, and how to be empathetic toward people who deal with emotional and mental illness.
“People deal with OCD, depression, Tourette’s, schizophrenia, anxiety, and a vast array of other mental health issues every day. And it’s not talked about enough. I share my story and all the other stories I write because I believe we need to talk about these things more. It’s why I wrote the book Waiting for Fitz. In the novel, I bring together numerous characters with different mental health issues. Each of these characters comes to understand, in their own way, that they have been living in a kind of darkness, and in order to be happy they need a friend to show them to the light.” – Spencer Hyde
Addies loves nothing more than curling up on the couch with her dog, Duck, and watching The Great British Baking Show with her mom. It's one of the few things that can help her relax when her OCD kicks into overdrive. She counts everything. All the time. She can't stop. Rituals and rhythms. It's exhausting.
When Fitz was diagnosed with schizophrenia, he named the voices in his head after famous country singers. The adolescent psychiatric ward at Seattle Regional Hospital isn't exactly the ideal place to meet your soul mate, but when Addie meets Fitz, they immediately connect over their shared love of words, appreciate each other's quick wit, and wish they could both make more sense of their lives.
Fitz is haunted by the voices in his head and often doesn't know what is real. But he feels if he can convince Addie to help him escape the psych ward and get to San Juan Island, everything will be okay. If not, he risks falling into a downward spiral that may keep him in the hospital indefinitely.
Waiting for Fitz is a story about life and love, forgiveness and courage, and learning what is truly worth waiting for.