Read 11 – 12 February 2012
My rating 4 / 5
This book was read for and on behalf of the Kindle Book Review.
‘Mental’ by Sherry Ashworth follows the mental breakdown of Luke, and is told with the voices of Luke, Katie (his sister) and Jamie, a friend. I’m told the book is aimed at the young adult market, but I think that most adults will find this a fascinating, and disturbing insight into life with mental illness.
The book is well paced and the voices of the three characters, Jamie, Katie and Luke are brilliant and individual, each providing an insight into their take on the situations. The book is written from the point of view of teenagers , but their fears and prejudices are the same as adults.
I found the book to be disturbing and frightening in places, and that is testament to Ashworth’s writing style, she really made you feel for Katie as she faced her brother’s behaviour alone. In the midst of all this, there are the usual teenager feelings of chasing boys, trying to keep in with the ‘it crowd’ and some brief exploration of family dynamics.
I had hoped that this book would de-stigmatise mental health issues a little more, and I almost feel like an epilogue some 6 months later might have been a nice way to end the book. I’ve read the book at a time when I’ve seen and hear lots of TV and radio adverts that are seeking to take the fear out of mental illness and to seek to get people to reach out to those who have been ill. Whilst this book does air some of the issues and social stigmas that go with mental health problems, I feel it stopped just a little short.
Those who read my reviews regularly will know that I am a bit of a stickler for editing and the finish of ebooks. This is the second title by ACHUKA books and I am pleased to say that the editing and finish is far better than that of their first publication, The Field. The pesky left paragraph is now at the normal width and the typing/grammar errors seem to be corrected, although Auntie Meg is referred to as Aunt, Auntie and Aunty which was a little irritating! The other thing I have noticed is that AHUKA books are giving their ebooks that same style of cover – what do you think? Is it good to have a consistent branding style across the publisher’s books, or do readers want to see an individual cover?
All in all an impressive book by Sherry Ashworth, and I’ll be looking back at some of her other books too. I’m not entirely convinced that the young adult market is the correct market for this book; I’m not sure I would want my niece reading this book – it’s just a little too dark for that age group, in my opinion.
You can also follow ACHUKA books and Sherry Ashworth on twitter – @ACHUKA and @SherryAshworth