Me, Myself and Them by Dan Mooney
|Me, Myself and Them by Dan Mooney|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Stacey Barkley|
|Summary: A introspective look at mental health, and at how we live with and move on from emotional trauma.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: June 2017|
|Publisher: Legend Press|
As witty as it is unsettling, Dan Mooney offers a story with the potential to open up public conversation around mental health and the human response to distress and trauma.
Disclaimer: I missed my train stop, twice, because of this book. Yes, Dan Mooney's writing is so captivating that I managed to zone (excuse the pun) out of London's juddering tube backdrop and right on into the wrong zone. I was then terribly disgruntled to have to close the book to make my way back to the correct stop. I could end the review here, because this feat alone should suffice to say that this book is one for the reading list.
A zombie, a clown, a feline cat-lady and a furball. Not, as one might presume,the opening cast of a weird joke, but Denis Murphy's four housemates. By day Denis holds down a number-crunching-data-producing job, but this day is also scheduled into set tasks, set times, footsteps required; it's scheduled right down to the exact gram of cereal to be weighed into his breakfast bowl. And through this all, waiting, are the four monsters he lives with.
They have a whole life together based around this schedule. And they have a relationship of mutual convenience too; they crave chaos and mess and Denis craves tidiness and order. So, each day they wreak havoc throughout the house and Denis finds personal calm in repairing the mess and damage. And this is the undisturbed rhythm of their everyday life.
That is until Rebecca, his enigmatic ex-girlfriend, comes crashing back into Denis' world prompting a mighty collision of his past and his present. Her arrival opens up the past Denis has spent years trying to live with, a trauma that has led to his obsessive-compulsive behaviours, and to the creation of his monster friends, the motley crew who have understood and helped him to cope. Denis has painstakingly built another universe, one of isolation and safety, which is suddenly under threat.
In the challenge of Rebecca, their contented existence is thrown out of balance and into flux. At risk of being discovered by the outer world, the formerly jolly monster crew take a turn for the menacing as they begin making demands of Denis in order to preserve their existence. This makes for an uncomfortable read in places as we watch Denis pulled between two realities and see his struggle to balance the demands of both, and his gradual descent into crisis.
As he straddles his past and present he must decide if the time has come to work through the pain and trauma and reclaim the life he has worked to forget. In the end Denis must wage war on his monsters, which ultimately means finally seeing that they are entirely of his creation, that they are facets of his own self.
A worthy winner of the Luke Bitmead Bursary, Dan Mooney has crafted a story of the strongest kind, that is, one that holds the power to prompt thought and dialogue. And this is a story much needed. Casting light on the reality of living with mental illness and distress, Me Myself and Them offers a wealth of understanding and empathy for professionals and the general public alike. Absolutely read it, share it, and discuss it.
The Luke Bitmead Bursary tends to highlight reads that are thought provoking. To sample another consider the 2012 winner Sleeping Patterns by JR Crook.
You can read more book reviews or buy Me, Myself and Them by Dan Mooney at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Me, Myself and Them by Dan Mooney at Amazon.com.
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