The current thinking in social work circles is that there are better long-term outcomes for children left with their family in an unstable home, than those removed and placed in foster care. This was in the back of my mind as I read comedian Corey White’s recently published memoir, The Prettiest Horse in the Glue Factory.
The details White shares of his childhood made me sick with fear from the first page. His father adored him but belted his wife and daughters. His mother, a drug addict, would disappear for days at a time. White was sexually abused by a ‘friend’ of the family, and as a young child he was violent toward his mother and sisters.
I drink in my father’s anger, see how it makes him glow and other people cower, and I repeat it. I punch my mother in the stomach and call her a stupid slut. Continue reading
Two recent reads, both books that I had high hopes for, were just not as snazzerific as I’d expected. Continue reading
On his retirement, my dad did what many new-retirees do – research the family tree. There were no surprises apart from discovering that a child was born out of wedlock, raised by his grandmother as her own, and grew up not knowing that his ‘sister’ was in fact his biological mother. On a spectrum of family scandals, it’s lightweight.
Author Eleanor Anstruther had a lot more material to work with, and the result is her fictionalised family history, A Perfect Explanation. Essentially, Anstruther’s father, Ian, was sold to his Aunt Joan for £500. The story also includes postnatal depression, Christian Science, a kidnapping, much family bitterness, a long legal battle, and a large emerald ring. Continue reading
A few years ago I read a book that was well-written, demanded conversation, and was extraordinarily memorable. And I didn’t recommend it to a single person. Because it was harrowing and devastating and exhausting – you have to be ready for that. Putney by Sofka Zinovieff falls into the same category. Continue reading
It would be a terrific choice for holiday reading – it’s pacey and easy to read.
I imagine when Ng was writing she had a complex plotting diagram on a whiteboard, or lots of sticky notes on her wall – clearly every word has been thought through. Continue reading
I became so involved with Marianne and Connell that I never wanted to leave them. If you haven’t yet read Normal People by Sally Rooney, hop to it.
4.5/5 Half a mark off because I didn’t cry.
Mad World | Tears for Fears
Marianne had the sense that her real life was happening somewhere very far away, happening without her, and she didn’t know if she would ever find out where it was and become part of it. Continue reading
Have you ever looked at a copy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (commonly referred to as the ‘DSM‘)? It’s a reference book published by the American Psychiatric Association, and it is used by clinicians for diagnosing mental illness. Each ‘disorder’ is described using a number of diagnostic criteria, risk factors, cultural and gender considerations, differential diagnoses and so on. It makes for very compelling reading, as Jon Ronson discovered in his exploration of psychopathy, The Psychopath Test.
I was much crazier than I’d imagined. Maybe it was a bad idea to read DSM4 when you’re not a trained professional…
Yes, even on a good day, I could browse through the DSM and slot myself into a whole bunch of disorders (today for instance, sluggish cognitive tempo disorder, otherwise known as lack of motivation). Continue reading
Four elements in The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce stood out (and will leave me feeling fondly toward the story) –
01. It’s a book version of The Castle – local shop owners on Unity Street (somewhere in London) battle a property developer, who wants to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with apartments. Furthermore, Frank, who owns the music shop, only stocks vinyl. As CDs begin to take over the music market, Frank holds out.
“CDs aren’t music. They’re toys.” Continue reading
Good grief. What was that (apart from being the Man Booker International prize winner in 2016)?