I had this book for a good two months before picking it up. The title alone struck me. Firstly, I also have dark circles around my eyes (a family trademark that no eye cream can fix) which I am very self-conscious about, so that alone made me feel like “argh, this book is going to get too mushy for me, I’m just not ready”.
I was tearing up while reading the damn prologue! This book was going to be deep – and boy was it deep!
Eyebags and Dimples is the true story of actress Bonnie Henna’s recollection of her childhood as a young black girl growing up with undiagnosed depression. She retells the story of her own self-hatred that had festered for years through this disease.
In many ways, the book tells a familiar story of many black childhoods – single parent household, the struggle to give one’s children the best possible education, facing social pressures of growing up in a township whilst trying to fit in with your white, “model c” friends. But somehow, Henna’s recollection gives deeper insight into the intricacies of the social make up of black society amidst the hustle and bustle of trying to find our identity in this new South Africa.
The book gives a personal account of how Henna’s hereditary depression was a constant feature in all her interactions throughout her life, weighing her down for years until she sought help – which in itself came from places she did not foresee. The story is a genuine, heart-wrenching, honest, personal look at mental illness. It is a testament that mental disorders don’t have to ruin one’s life, that it is ok to get help in order to be the best version of yourself. A refreshing and uplifting (albeit emotional) read that gives us what we need most – hope.