Thank you to Lyn Farrell for my copy of The Wacky Man.
This book doesn’t hold back when it tackles some harrowing issues. It depicts the violent abuse suffered by a child and the resulting mental health issues she suffers from with shuddering realism. Nothing is sugar coated or glossed over; we suffer along with Amanda.
This book is fantastic because it highlights the damage that parents can do when they abuse their child. But it is not for the faint of heart as it is vivid and visceral in its portrayal. This is done through changes in the narrative, and we get first person accounts from Amanda interspersed with a third-person narrative also from Amanda’s point of view in addition to her mother’s. At first, I found the different narrative voices confusing, but reflecting on the back as a whole, they are intelligently woven in to make sure you remember that Amanda is a person. You get to see her personality and the fragility of her mental state. In third person accounts, you can get a certain distance, but the first person accounts stop that from happening.
From the many people that I’ve spoken to about support for mental health, most of them say that not enough help is given. The support given to Amanda in this book was undoubtedly inadequate. That is just my opinion of course because I am not an expert by any means. But she should have been removed from that situation when the first people came around to see them. So many people let Amanda down in this book, and it was frustrating and heart-rendering. But I do think that this book is supposed to be set in the past, so I do think things have got a lot better. So this book, for people that know about mental health will be interesting to read as it shows how far we have come or haven’t come…Again I am no expert!
As I’ve said many times in my book reviews, I love books that make you think. I may not like the outcome or the journey in this book as it is distressing and traumatic from start to finish. I hope many people read this book as the way in which Lyn Farrell captures the thoughts of people suffering mental health problems is astounding. Her way with words; metaphors, imagery, and descriptions are brilliant at helping the reader grasp the irrational and frazzled thoughts in Amanda’s mind. There is no way that someone could read this book and not completely understand why Amanda shuts herself away from the world by the end of the book. Her entire family has not provided for her the way all of expect to be looked after as a child. This book made me remember how lucky I am to not have suffered the way that Amanda has and how decent human beings should act. I hope that when other people read this book they get a greater understanding of what mental health issues are about, how it warps your thought processes.
If ever a book deserved a standing ovation it is this one, purely for the realistic and excellent depictions of mental health. I think this book should be given out to people that try to judge those with mental health issues or for those who think it is okay to abuse children. I hope you forgive me rant on these issues; this is just what this book does to you; invests you in the characters, so their issues become yours! Looking forward to seeing what this author tackles next!