I’d been into The Works and spotted a book by Patrick Redmond and one by Stephen Booth, as they were part of the 3 for £5 deal so I scoured the shelves for a third book and spotted this one and what an unexpected treat it was!
The story focuses around Michael, Karen and Abby getting the help they need after they all find themselves having a significant dip in their happiness.
Michael has lost his flower shop, Karen is struggling with the loss of her father and her husband and Abby is devastated by her collapsed marriage. All three of them end up in Moreland’s Clinic, which is a swanky rehabilitation centre known to be the ‘go to’ place for celebrities in the south of England. All three of them are placed in the same therapy group along with a couple of others; including: Lillie who is a famous TV presenter, Colin – a middle aged man who spends all day in his slippers and Tash who has turrets syndrome.
Although the reasons for everybody ending up in Moreland’s are rather sad, it’s incredibly uplifting to read them all become happier during their time spent there. Mental health is still an extremely sensitive subject and I think to write about it must be even harder. I think Rayner captured the subject beautifully; there are a couple of key messages that I came away with and these are:
- It can happen to anyone – everybody deals with situations differently
- There’s no ‘quick fix’ and because we are all so unique, the effectiveness of different treatments can vary
- It can be emotionally overwhelming for a loved one to deal with someone suffering from mental health but it can be just as difficult for the sufferer, as they can be frustrated that their loved one doesn’t understand
- Friendship is a powerful healing tool and so is time
- Just because someone comes across as happy and jolly, doesn’t mean that’s how they feel on the inside
This is a heartwarming tale and you can’t help but fall in love with the characters, I was with them through their highs and lows… especially Michael, who is dealt an unfair hand of lows – including being transferred from Moreland’s Clinic to a rather cynical NHS unit.
I feel like I haven’t really dug deep into how I felt about each of the characters or what I felt about each of their lives… and I think the reason why I haven’t is because even though these are fictional characters, the problems they are dealing with are so private, sensitive and ‘real’… that to offer my opinion on them would be judgemental. The saying I’ve got in my head right now is:
YOU CAN NEVER TRULY UNDERSTAND ANOTHER PERSON’S EXPERIENCE UNTIL YOU’VE WALKED A MILE IN THEIR SHOES
Wow… I think that’s a powerful message to come out of a book…this really was a breath of fresh air from my usual thriller genre and it’s the perfect kind of book for a summer holiday, a long dip in the bath or a chilled out Sunday – it’s an easy read, flows well and as I’ve already touched upon, it carries a few humble messages.
So what I’ve learnt is… if I ever find myself in The Works or somewhere else that is offering a deal on books, it’s definitely worth picking up a random book because it allows you to explore a new author and genre without paying full price!
Until next time, Chloé x