Brilliant Thing is a comic memoir, told by a single narrator, about depression. Their mother attempts suicide while they are still a child, and they are inspired to write a list of every reason to keep living. Ranging from the simplest pleasures to moments that come once in a lifetime, the list grows and ages with the narrator, as they learn how to live with their own depression. Sometimes they can add several things at a time, and sometimes it takes years to think of anything new. But no matter the personal struggle, new brilliance comes from the most unexpected places.