As he struggles to make sense of his life, Sheldon starts to notice something odd about one of his new co-workers, Gilbert Ryan. Gilbert seems to know about Sheldon's mental health issues - in fact, he seems to know secrets about everyone.
And Gilbert sees value in Sheldon...
*May Contain Spoilers*
Scott Bartlett explores mental illness in his novel, Taking Stock. The main character is a young man who is dealing with the aftermath of his mother's death. Killed by a drunk driver, Sheldon's mother leaves him all alone in world full of secrets, guilt, and blackmailing.
Sheldon struggles with suicidal thoughts and is attempting to take his own life when he's found by his neighbor. This neighbor steps in and tries to help Sheldon by taking him to the hospital so that Sheldon can deal with his depression and suicidal thoughts. Sheldon is filled with doubt, guilt, fear, and feelings of worthlessness. When his neighbor helps him land a job at a grocery store, things begin looking up. However, everything quickly takes a turn for the worse when Sheldon is confronted with drugs, pretense, liars, and the reality of human nature. Readers will connect with Sheldon while he is at his lowest, immediately hoping that he can turn his life around and mentally heal. This relationship will grow as he searches for a reason to want to live.
The story line follows Sheldon's stay at a psychiatric ward and his life after, often switching back and forth between them. The time line weaves between the two events, combining them and separating them equally. Sheldon becomes privy to the grocery store secrets which comes to threaten his path to mental health. Taking Stock is an exploration of mental illness and how hard life can be to live. Though the situations that Sheldon finds himself in are not relatable to every reader, the struggle is the real focus and readers will empathize with Sheldon's journey through life with his illness.
Rating: 3/5 Cups