Thursday, 21 August 2014
Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner
Published by: Pan Macmillan
Purchase on Amazon here
From the author of the bestselling One Moment, One Morning comes another beautiful, bittersweet novel set in Brighton.
Three people, each crying out for help . . . There's Karen, worried about her dying father; Abby, whose son has autism and needs constant care; and Michael, a family man on the verge of bankruptcy. As each sinks under the strain, they're brought together at Moreland's Clinic. Here, behind closed doors, they reveal their deepest secrets, confront and console one another and share plenty of laughs. But how will they cope when a new crisis strikes?
What a beautiful, poignant and moving read this book is. Infact I finished reading the book last night, but I have fond myself still thinking about it today. The book is beautifully written and I found it totally compelling. I tend to be a fast reader, but I found myself slowing right down with this book as I connected so much to the characters I felt they deserved my attention.
Before starting this book I thought I would setting off on a light hearted chick lit story. Oh no, it very soon became obvious that this was going to be an intense book exploring depression, suicide and autism. But don't let that put you off.....I felt each subject was handled with incredible sensitivity and understanding. Each characters situation felt realistically portrayed and whilst yes, the storyline is deep and intense, I felt a very strong message about the power of friendship, love and caring which was incredibly warm and in some ways uplifting.
The story opens at Moreland Place, a mental health clinic. The therapists are obviously talking about one of the patients who has committed suicide. But as a reader I didnt know who they were referring to. I have to admit that I spent time whilst reading truing to work out who it was...a bit like a detective looking for clues.
The book revolves around three main characters; Karen, Abby and Michael. The first part of the book introduces the reader to each of them, and tells the story of their day to day life. If any of you have read One Moment, One Morning you will recognise Karen as the wife of the gentleman who dies. Karen is raising 2 children on her own, as well as having a sick father. I felt that she was juggling lots of things and never really giving herself the space she needed. Abby is married, albeit unhappily, with a child who has severe autism. Most of the parental responsibility falls to Abby and I can only imagine how hard this must be, given the severity of her son's autism. My nephew is autistic, though not anywhere near as badly as Abby's son, but I know some of the challenges it brings. Last, but not least there is Michael, a florist whose business is in big trouble, and with debts mounting could be in big financial trouble.
The characters come together when each of their lives comes to a head and they find themselves being treated in Moreland Place. There we also meet some great lesser part characters such as Colin and Lillie who I also found adorable. I really enjoyed (that feels like a weird thing to say given the subject matter) following their journeys toward recovery, and could feel myself becoming very attached to them. It definitely made me identity with the rescuer in me who wanted to jump in and make it all better for them.
I won't tell you anymore about the plot as it would spoil it for those who haven't yet read the book.
Whilst reading this book the news of Robin William's death was also announced and there has been a lot of talk about the struggles of those suffering from depression and anxiety. There is still alot of stigma around mental health and it is not understood, unless you have been through it yourself. I openly admit about my life time struggle with anxiety. I had severe agoraphobia in my twenties and it took me a long time to recover. It was also incredibly lonely doing it alone.
I felt this book handled the subject in a great way. As a reader I was able to take a trip into their worlds and understand what was happening for them that leads to their battles. The resistance to enter into therapy or to share their troubles also rings true. Those with mental health problems feel ashamed and don't want to burden others. I loved the way the author coaxed this out, and showed how with a little confidence and help you can overcome issues.
I loved this book (if you couldn't tell) and whilst it may not be the most uplifting of reads it is definitely one that will hook you in and make you feel empathy and warmth towards human beings.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan who provided a copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.