Friday, August 17, 2007

Review: In Search of Adam by Caroline Smailes

For a person who calls herself literary, I do shamefully little reading. As I have written before, unlike others, whom I envy, I find it very hard to read while I'm writing - my own writing is too likely to be influenced - and now that blogging is eating into my non-writing time... So going to Wales, where there isn't even a phone line, is a marvellous chance to catch up on books I've been meaning for ages to read. This time one of the books I read was Caroline Smailes' In Search of Adam.

Well, wow. Sorry about the cliches, but sometime you can't avoid them. This is a book I couldn't put down. This is a book I grabbed the moment I woke in the morning and sat reading for the next hour with a full bladder and an empty stomach. It's sad, no, it's harrowing - a tale of a wretched childhood and damaged adulthood, of loss and child abuse and a cycle of despair - yet it's utterly riveting in its psychological precision and manipulation of language, and let me tell you, it's the first convincing depiction I've ever read of the psychological underpinnings of bulimia, and a searing indictment of the way the medical profession deals with it. So it's a very brave book too, and not least in its depiction of the damaging forces at work in a working-class community. I can imagine that many would make objections to this last, but for me the whole thing rang with a truth that would make such objections sentimental.

Read it, is all I say.
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