Welcome to my tour stop for the “Panther” debut novel by David Owen.
Enjoy the review!!
I received a copy of “Panther” from Little Brown and would like to take the opportunity to thank them for providing it.
It turns out that, as I am typing this review, there is a Mental Health awareness week running that will end in the next couple of days. Mental Health issues have a way of making people uncomfortable and unless you are faced with dealing with it, this is probably a subject matter that is right at the bottom of everyone’s list, if on it at all.
When I picked up “Panther” I had to ask myself how I felt about Mental Health issues and the honest answer is: “I don’t know!” and the reason for it is that my life so far has not given me the opportunity (or misfortune) to experience or be close to anyone with a mental disorder. It is fair to say that I know very little about it. I am however not ready to just wait for it to come and knock at my door, so “Panther” was at least a great introduction and a good way to raise my awareness.
This story is told through the eyes of Derrick the main character. Derrick is a teenager, whose weight issues make him very self-conscious. As if this was not enough, his now ex-best friend Tamoor, has just uploaded a video on Facebook for all to see which shows Derrick in a rather delicate position. This is however the least of his worries. His life has been poisoned by his sister’s suicidal tendencies and he is absolutely convinced that what is happening to her has to do with the recent and very timely sightings of this panther everyone seemed to have seen in the neighbourhood. So, he decided to come up with a plan to catch it and only then, his family will finally have some peace.
When I turned the last page of this book, I had a lot of difficulties rating it. It is not one of those “how much do you like it” read and here are 5 stars. No, that would be easy. I had to slightly alter my rating scale and recalibrate it to include “What did I learn” and “Damn! Not sure I could handle that”.
If anything, although there were quite a few skilfully described scenes that did not sit well with me, once I got over them, learning about the impact of mental disorder on not only the affected, but also those close to him or her, was a real eye opener.
But of course, this is only one perspective. We definitely need more authors like David Owen especially when looking at mental health in teens. And just maybe, in time as we learn more, there will be less stigma attached to the matter.
This is a read that I would recommend to all.