Related to: 'A Normal Family'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder Paperbacks

Walking the Americas

Levison Wood
Authors:
Levison Wood

LONGLISTED IN THE ADVENTURE TRAVEL CATEGORY OF THE 2017 BANFF MOUNTAIN BOOK AWARDS SUNDAY TIMES TOP 10 BESTSELLERBY THE AUTHOR OF WALKING THE HIMALAYAS, WINNER OF THE 2016 EDWARD STANFORD ADVENTURE TRAVEL BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD'Levison Wood has breathed new life into adventure travel.' Michael PalinWalking the Americas chronicles Levison Wood's 1,800 mile trek along the spine of the Americas, through eight countries, from Mexico to Colombia, experiencing some of the world's most diverse, beautiful and unpredictable places.His journey took him from violent and dangerous cities to ancient Mayan ruins lying still unexplored in the jungles of Mexico and Guatemala. He encountered members of indigenous tribes, migrants heading towards the US border and proud Nicaraguan revolutionaries on his travels, where at the end of it all, he attempted to cross one of the most impenetrable borders on earth: the Darien Gap route from Panama into South America.This trek required every ounce of Levison Wood's guile, tact, strength and resilience in one of the most raw, real and exciting journeys of his life.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Grief Survival Guide

Jeff Brazier
Authors:
Jeff Brazier

Jeff Brazier has experienced bereavement in many forms: In his childhood, helping his two boys through the devastating death of their mother, Jade Goody, witnessing the anguish of his own mum when she lost both of her parents, and hearing the stories of his coaching clients who are coming to terms with loss. No one can be an expert on grief, but within this book Jeff provides support and guidance from someone who has been there. Accessible and hands-on The Grief Survival Guide offers practical advice on everything from preparing for the eventuality of death, managing grief, how best to support family and friends, and moving forward. There is no 'one size fits all' approach so instead Jeff teaches us that the best we can do is understand, cope and survive.

Coronet

Mind of a Survivor

Megan Hine
Authors:
Megan Hine
Hodder & Stoughton

Gizelle's Bucket List

Lauren Fern Watt
Authors:
Lauren Fern Watt
Yellow Kite

Staring at Lakes

Michael Harding
Authors:
Michael Harding

Throughout his life, Michael Harding has lived with a sense of emptiness - through faith, marriage, fatherhood and his career as a writer, a pervading sense of darkness and unease remained.When he was fifty-eight, he became physically ill and found himself in the grip of a deep melancholy. Here, in this beautifully written memoir, he talks with openness and honesty about his journey: leaving the priesthood when he was in his thirties, settling in Leitrim with his artist wife, the depression that eventually overwhelmed him, and how, ultimately, he found a way out of the dark, by accepting the fragility of love and the importance of now.Staring at Lakes was a number one bestseller in Michael's native Ireland and won three BGE Irish book awards in 2013, including Non-Fiction Book of the Year. 'It's rare for a memoir to demand such intense emotional involvement and rarer still for it to be so fully rewarded' - SUNDAY TIMES.'Staring at Lakes is a raw and honest account of a life in depression. Harding's writing, which is rich and lyrical, is especially astute when describing the pain of living with an illness that has the ability to suck the joy out of any occasion.' - DAILY EXPRESS

Coronet

Happy Mum, Happy Baby

Giovanna Fletcher
Authors:
Giovanna Fletcher
Hodder & Stoughton

The Wild Other

Clover Stroud
Authors:
Clover Stroud
Two Roads

Cheer Up Love

Susan Calman
Authors:
Susan Calman

SUSAN CALMAN AKA WONDER WOMAN & QUEEN OF DRAGONS AS SEEN ON STRICTLY COME DANCING 2017'DEEPLY HONEST, SURPRISINGLY HILARIOUS AND UPLIFTING' The Pool 'HEART-WARMING: UNMISSABLE' Damian Barr, Metro Susan Calman is a well-known comedian and writer who has appeared on countless radio and television programmes from The News Quiz and Just a Minute on BBC Radio 4, presented Armchair Detectives and Secret Scotland, hosts the podcast Mrs Brightside and stole the nation's hearts in STRICTLY COME DANCING 2017. Her solo stand up show, Susan Calman is Convicted, was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and dealt with subjects like the death penalty, appearance and depression. It was the overwhelming and positive reaction to the show she wrote about mental health that made Susan want to write a more detailed account of surviving depression when you're the world's most negative and anxious person. The Crab of Hate is the personification of Calman's depression and her version of the notorious Black Dog. A constant companion all her life, the Crab has provided her with the best, and very worst of times. This is a very personal and affecting memoir of how, after many years and with a lot of help and talking, Susan has embraced her dark side and realised that she can be the most joyous sad person you'll ever meet. CHEER UP LOVE IS FUNNY, POIGNANT AND (HOPEFULLY) INFORMATIVE.IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO TALK AND TO REALISE YOU ARE NOT ALONE. *Susan Calman's new book, Sunny Side Up, publishes September 2018*

Two Roads

The Arab of the Future 2

Riad Sattouf
Authors:
Riad Sattouf

VOLUME 2 IN THE UNFORGETTABLE STORY OF AN EXTRAORDINARY CHILDHOODA GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR | AN OBSERVER GRAPHIC BOOK OF THE YEARA NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS' TOP BOOKS OF 2016 'EXUBERANTLY HERETICAL''I tore through it... The most enjoyable graphic novel I've read in a while' Zadie Smith'I joyously recommend this book to you' Mark Haddon'Riad Sattouf is one of the great creators of our time' Alain De Botton'Beautifully-written and drawn, witty, sad, fascinating... Brilliant' Simon Sebag MontefioreThe first volume of Riad Sattouf's The Arab of the Future introduced young Riad as his family shuttled back and forth between France and the Middle East. Here is the continuation of his heart-rending, darkly comic story. Now settled in his father's village of Ter Maaleh near Homs, Riad finally begins school, where he dedicates himself to becoming a true Syrian in the country of the dictator Hafez Al-Assad. Told simply yet with devastating effect, Riad's story takes in the sweep of Middle Eastern life of the 1980s, but it is steered by acutely observed small moments: the daily sadism of his schoolteachers, the cruelty and vulnerability of his fellow students, and the obsequiousness of his father in the company of those close to the regime. And as the family strains to fit in, one chilling, barbaric act drives the Sattoufs to take the most dramatic of steps. Immediate and gripping, The Arab of the Future 2 once again reveals the inner workings of a tormented country and a tormented family, delivered through Riad Sattouf 's dazzlingly original graphic style.Translated by Sam Taylor.***THE ARAB OF THE FUTURE - THE INTERNATIONAL SENSATION*** #1 BESTSELLER IN FRANCE | GUARDIAN 'BEST GRAPHIC BOOKS OF 2015' PICK | NYTIMES EDITOR'S CHOICE | SELECTED AS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY LATIMES, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, AMAZON.COM, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, NPR | WINNER OF THE FAUVE D'OR PRIZE FOR BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR AT THE ANGOULÊME INTERNATIONAL COMICS FESTIVAL | WINNER OF THE LATIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR GRAPHIC NOVELS | NOMINATED FOR 'BEST REALITY-BASED WORK' AT THE EISNER AWARDS

Hodder & Stoughton

Dear Michael, Love Dad

Iain Maitland
Authors:
Iain Maitland
Hodder & Stoughton

Home is Burning

Dan Marshall
Authors:
Dan Marshall
Hodder & Stoughton

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me

Jennifer Teege, Nikola Sellmair
Authors:
Jennifer Teege, Nikola Sellmair

'A powerful account of Teege's struggle for resolution and redemption.' IndependentAn international bestseller, this is the extraordinary and moving memoir of a woman who learns that her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the brutal Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler's List.When Jennifer Teege, a German-Nigerian woman, happened to pluck a library book from the shelf, she had no idea that her life would be irrevocably altered. Recognising photos of her mother and grandmother in the book, she discovers a horrifying fact: Her grandfather was Amon Goeth, the vicious Nazi commandant chillingly depicted by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List - a man known and reviled the world over.Although raised in an orphanage and eventually adopted, Teege had some contact with her biological mother and grandmother as a child. Yet neither revealed that Teege's grandfather was the Nazi "butcher of Plaszów," executed for crimes against humanity in 1946. The more Teege reads about Amon Goeth, the more certain she becomes: If her grandfather had met her-a black woman-he would have killed her.Teege's discovery sends her, at age 38, into a severe depression-and on a quest to unearth and fully comprehend her family's haunted history. Her research takes her to Krakow - to the sites of the Jewish ghetto her grandfather 'cleared' in 1943 and the Plaszów concentration camp he then commanded - and back to Israel, where she herself once attended college, learned fluent Hebrew, and formed lasting friendships. Teege struggles to reconnect with her estranged mother Monika, and to accept that her beloved grandmother once lived in luxury as Amon Goeth's mistress at Plaszów.Teege's story is co-written by award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair, who also contributes a second, interwoven narrative that draws on original interviews with Teege's family and friends and adds historical context. Ultimately, Teege's resolute search for the truth leads her, step by step, to the possibility of her own liberation.

Coronet

Breaking the Silence

Jo Milne
Authors:
Jo Milne

Jo Milne had already lived a lifetime surrounded by silence, profoundly deaf from birth, when she began to lose her sight. Just before turning thirty, Jo was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome, a rare genetic and progressive condition that will one day rob her of her sight altogether.In 2014 she made a life-changing decision to undergo major surgery. She had cochlear implants fitted allowing her to hear for the first time. Every moment of Jo's days since the operation has become a journey of discovery.Over 12 million people watched the poignant video of the moment that 39 year old Jo Milne's cochlear implants were switched on allowing her to hear for the first time in her life. Breaking the Silence is a remarkable and beautifully written memoir that will serve as an inspiration to everyone who reads it. By turns, heart-breaking and heart-warming, it is the incredibly uplifting life-story of a woman who refused to give up hope and always lives life with a smile upon her face.Watch Jo hear for the first time here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyDdVJ81Ixs

Hodder & Stoughton

The Virgin Mary's Got Nits

Gervase Phinn
Authors:
Gervase Phinn
Yellow Kite

Black Rainbow

Rachel Kelly
Authors:
Rachel Kelly
Hodder Paperbacks

My Madder Fatter Diary

Rae Earl
Authors:
Rae Earl
Hodder & Stoughton

A Year's Journey With God

Jennifer Rees Larcombe
Authors:
Jennifer Rees Larcombe

Jennifer Rees Larcombe is well known for the calm grace she brings to even the hardest things, and her books celebrate God's goodness and care in the midst of tough times, as well as when all goes well. In this book she helps us to see how God is with us in good times and bad, drawing on many of the insights her own experiences have given her. Taking inspiration from key events and Christian festivals throughout the year, she has put together daily devotions to inspire grace and faith.This is a beautiful book, helping us to explore our faith with new eyes and a strengthened sense of God's love and care.

Hodder Paperbacks

Walking with Sausage Dogs

Matt Whyman
Authors:
Matt Whyman

Keeping pets is a lovely idea. When building a family, they complement the kids. But what happens when things get out of hand?For writer and house husband, Matt Whyman, it's a case of catastrophe management in coping with four children and all the ill-advised animals amassed by his career wife, Emma. Just as Matt gets to grips with managing her two maxed out minipigs, she falls for a miniature Dachshund - the kind of dog he wouldn't be seen dead with.Hercules isn't big or clever, but Emma is determined. She'll do everything, she promises...From the author of Pig in the Middle

Hodder Paperbacks

Clarissa's England

Clarissa Dickson Wright
Authors:
Clarissa Dickson Wright
Hodder Paperbacks

Cuckoo in the Nest

Nat Luurtsema
Authors:
Nat Luurtsema