With a memorable duo-chromatic cover and shadowy charcoal sketches, this little hardback is an effort to combine artistry and emotion. The style is very reminiscent of a simple children’s book. Depression is depicted as a dragon, a smoky fog, as a blinding and suffocating personification of darkness. The goal is to elicit empathy for those who struggle with depression, and perhaps to bestow a sense of comradery among those who live with it.
Though it has the appearance of a children’s book, the uniquely stylized aesthetic may make it more suitable as a coffee table book (or perhaps ideally, preparatory waiting room reading material for counseling offices.) While the book is technically based on the author’s personal outlook, the main character is nearly ambiguous in gender, age, and ethnicity—making it more openly relatable on a superficial level. The intent is worthy, meaningful, and more than needed in this era of growing metal health awareness. While very few children ever deal with depression, they may have close teen or adult relative who does. And there is the potential here to give some comprehension to the unaware, and words to the overwhelmed.
Coming in at just 32 pages, with between one and four sentences per page, Night Shift is an incredibly quick read. (So quick, in fact, some may balk at the $14 price tag.) It does a thorough job of describing a day-to-day struggle with depression (which some who experience it may or may not find relatable), but doesn’t seem to fulfill the promise given in the blurb—that is, to explain how the author copes with her depression. There’s plenty of clear depiction of being metaphorically assailed, and enduring said assaults on her mental and emotional state. But any methods she may have for resisting or fighting back unfortunately remain a mystery. And while this book does end on a hopeful note, that hope is vague and left to just the last 2 written pages.