Today’s book review comes from team member Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com
Cathy chose to read and review Carla by Mark Barry
An extraordinary story, fascinatingly and honestly narrated by John Dexter, forty-two years old and from a wealthy background. John has a history of mental illness, or more precisely Borderline Personality Disorder, and has been in and out of psychiatric care for years. The most recent being ‘three years of intense psychotherapy’ with the associated medications, some of which were experimental. Now he’s living alone in a flat funded by his father who, rather than hands on help, prefers to throw money at John and hope for the best. And taking into account John’s mother left when he was at an impressionable age his self abandonment issues begin to seem a little more understandable.
On a visit to one of the local pubs John meets, Carla, the young barmaid and he is immediately lost. John knows the scenario well and he also knows his behaviour is illogical but is powerless to stop. During the course of the narrative he explains in detail how he’s unable to cope rationally and emotionally with his feelings and the inevitably of his doomed relationships.
With Carla, John is able to curb his more extreme inclinations, and to his surprise Carla seems to like him. They share an interest in the environment and take walks together. Their developing friendship brings unwelcome consequences by throwing other characters into the mix and showing Carla to be a more complex character than at first thought.
John’s story is a very individual one, reflective and disturbing, told with no holds barred and in great detail. The writing is brilliant. A raw journey inside the mind of the protagonist and his analysis of the disorder that’s influenced and blighted his life. The daily struggle he faces is heart breaking and described beautifully with a wry humour that charms. It’s a compelling, tragic and sometimes immensely brutal story, with an ending I was not expecting and one that will stay with me for quite some time, I think.
5 out of 5 stars