Any Other Mouth by Anneliese Mackintosh
|Any Other Mouth by Anneliese Mackintosh
|Category: Short Stories
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris
|Summary: A funny and frank account, this covers a range of areas not often discussed in such an open way, as told by a girl who really doesn't care what you think.
|Date: June 2014
|Publisher: Freight Books
With a title like Any Other Mouth, you know from the outset that this is, shall we say, a rather niche book. It’s not all about orifices, though. Partially autobiographical, this is the messy, ludicrous, wildly entertaining story of a girl who’s just a little bit different. Ok, make that a lot different.
Presented as a series of short stories, this book jumps around in time from childhood to uni years, before and after bereavement, into Scotland and back down again to south of the border, through various programmes of study. Each chapter is unique, and indeed many have previously been published as articles or short stories. I do like books like that are you can dip in and out of them gradually without fearing you'll forget an overarching plot. The stories do get a little intense at times, so it's also nice to be able to think one and done, you'll put it down and come back to it later.
The detail is obscene at times, tiny details whereby you don't know whether personal journals from the time have been consulted, or a lot of time has been spent researching retrospectively, but either way you can tell time and effort have been expended. Like knowing what year a certain scene took place in Corrie, or what present you got on your 9th birthday. Reading this, you get the feeling it has been written, in a therapeutic way, for the author herself as well as for her audience. It’s a journey of self-discovery and self-reflection, with what may have been insignificant events to others now worthy of a handful of pages of analysis in the mind of the author. It’s unusual, but I liked it.
The book is easy to read because even though it's a wandering stream of consciousness, the delivery is short and punchy rather than rambling. It is excruciatingly honest and blunt at times, but you almost expect that from the title. It’s one I wouldn’t necessarily choose to read over dinner, finding as I do that pus can put me off my pasta, but I’ve also read worse, and by worse I mean more graphic. There is a theme of mental health issues throughout the book, both her sister’s and her own, and as someone who does a lot of work with Mental Health Trusts nationally, I found it refreshing to read another slant on the specialty, other than the often presented mild depression or severe, sectionable psychosis.
This is a funny bit of a book but I enjoyed it lots. It won’t be for everyone because of its subject matter, tone and frankness, but those who do like it will love it, and for those sorts of people, like myself, it’s highly recommended.
Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Any Other Mouth by Anneliese Mackintosh at Amazon.com.
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