Personally, I like this book. It draws heavily on inspiration from some very, very good work out there. And I'm not comparing my book. I'm not asserting it's in the same league. I'm just saying that without certain other books, I wouldn't have felt confident enough to write this. I wouldn't have had the guts.
The books I'm talking about? Okay.
1) The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson.
2) Factotum and Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski.
3) Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry.
4) Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel.
My book is what it is. A story of bullying and depression. It's stylistically easy-going, in that the narrative sounds as though you're listening to James Lawson. It isn't a piece of wordy genius. It's conversational, slangy and sometimes clichéd. And I'm fine with that.
It's quick-fire. It's gritty. It's sweary and drunk and druggy. It's Average-Joe philosophy. It's a revelation of life, lived by a man who is messed up by mental illness. Messed up by alcohol problems. Keen to do what is right, but inevitably doing what is wrong.
It is ordinary life.
Many people struggle with mental illness. Many people struggle with not only their own self-condemnation, but the condemnation of others around them. They need to know that there are people out there dedicated to helping them. People like MIND, and other hard-working folk. People who understand.
Because understanding is the key. And that is why I wrote this book.
I wanted to help people understand.
Mental illness may well be invisible, but it is still an illness.