I bought this book after reading a review by fellow Book Blogger Katherine Sunderland at ‘BibliomaniacUK.’ I’m so glad that I did. Thanks Katherine.
At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it; it jumped straight in with the plot there no time for introductions. This is a very dark book but it is so worth the read. I’ve never struggled with mental health before but I know a few of my close friends have and I feel after reading this book I have gained an intimate understanding of what it can be like.
This book does not hold anything back, it is a gritty, realistic insight into the mind of a someone struggling with their mental health. It is fantastic because the main character, Ellie (Helen) is on Employment Support Allowance, lives in a dump, smokes and drinks but by the end of the book you don’t judge her, you wouldn’t cross to the other side of the road to avoid her. You understand what she has been through and why she is how she is. I know that the next time I pass someone who looks dishevelled and is drinking and homeless I will wonder if they are going through anything like Ellie (Helen) has been through. This is even touched upon in the book in the scene at the bank. It was wonderful to see this dissection of society and it made me feel ashamed that thoughts like this could easily have crossed my mind.
Another reason that I enjoyed this book is the theme it explores about ‘playing a role’. Ellie takes over the role of Helen and their mum takes the role of the ideal wife, letting both girls down and forever changing their lives. It was an insightful look at the damage not being yourself can have on yourself and the people that are close to you. As mental health becomes more common and people become more aware of it, books like these are leading the way in exploring what can cause mental health issues and showing people a snapshot of what it is like.