book review: the nothing train to nowhere (no spoilers)

A review by Tea Jay

There is a lot I can say about Sarah Fader, both on a professional and personal level.

A few years ago when I got my start as an advocate I went viral with a piece about suicidal ideation (if you’ve been following me for a while this isn’t news to you, but if you haven’t you can read the article HERE). Some of the coolest moments in my career came from well-known pages sharing my article and commenting on it. For the most part it was a lot of positive feedback, with a few trolls writing to me to kill myself (hey, you win some, you lose some). But one of the most satisfying responses came from Sarah Fader (known as @thesarahfader on Twitter) who wanted to know who wrote the article so they could write an article for her company Stigma Fighters. Stigma Fighters was one of the first mental health accounts I had stumbled across Twitter; the stories told on the site moved me and had motivated me to start writing about my own experiences with BPD. One of our mutual friends tagged me, and thus blossomed our friendship.

Sarah went from colleague, to mentor, to employer, to one of my closest friends. If I could I would direct this post to a Sarah Fader appreciation post and write about every little thing she does for the mental health community and the writers in it. Nevertheless, that is not the intention of this particular post.

Over the weekend, while on the phone with Sarah, she brought up the novellete she published last year; The Nothing Train To Nowhere. I had a copy in my vast library, but had yet to tackle this quick read.

Do you ever feel although you want to read a book and have every intention to that it’s not your time to skim through the pages? Like you haven’t the privilege to actually read it yet, as though it’s not quite yet your time?

This happens to me almost every time I buy a new book. I get an overwhelming sense of excitement as I eagerly purchase new paperbacks but when the time comes to open and explore the written universe I clam up and shut the book. I’m this way with a lot of different medias.

However, when I held The Nothing Train To Nowhere this weekend I felt a strong pull in my energies telling me to read the book. So, while my son watched a movie in bed with me on our rainy Saturday morning, I binged the reading.

The first thing I noticed about the book was Sarah Fader’s talents of storytelling. It takes a particular kind of artist to convey therapy methods and concepts into a fiction story. Sarah weaves this tale of the girl with no name masterfully. One of my favorite parts of the book was as a New York native Sarah is excellent at detailing a peculiar train ride. I feel like she relied heavily on her own experiences while manipulating the tale to works of make believe.

There is a beautiful intersection of reality and tale in this read.

The book feels almost like a lucid dream when reading. Sarah’s metaphors are meant to be interpreted for people who have experienced all forms of trauma, neglect, and abuse. This I find fascinating, mostly being because so many people can relate to this story of pigeons, nameless men, and exploration.

I feel like this book will become a really great reminder to ground myself and to find my center. I will be adopting this book into my routine for bad days where I feel unguided. The Nothing Train To Nowhere brought me great peace. Once again, Sarah Fader knocks it out of the ballpark with another one of her books.

But if you know her at all, that should come as no surprise.


About the author: Tea Jay is a millennial, mother, and advocate. She has published two books about mental health. The first,In The Gray Area Of Being Suicidal, an essay collection chronicling life with BPD and being a suicide attempt survivor. The second, a children’s book explaining a caregiver’s mental illness to young children.

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