All in the mind – London based psychiatrist, Professor Martin Sturrock’s Friday gets off to a ominous start as he receives a phone call informing him that his Aunt Jessica has died. Over the course of an extraordinary weekend we get introduced to a variety of Sturrock’s patients and learn about his unhappy private life, with his discontented wife Stella.
‘It was as though all the different parts of a psychological jigsaw had been hanging in space above…a big piece of the jigsaw was Professor Sturrock and the things he had said to her, which at the time she hadn’t really taken in, or even listened to: his ideas on what makes a person, what is good and what is bad, what a lesson about the past really means, dreams, forgiveness, grief for what we lose when alive, living in the present tense.’
Emily Parks has severe burns to the left side of her face causing her to hide from the world and only venture out after dark. With Sturrock’s support she eventually feels comfortable enough to help out at her local shop. Warehouse worker, David Temple is a 33 year old serious depressive who lives with his smothering Catholic mother, David ultimately finds the courage to speak openly. Arta Mehmeti is a Kosovo war refugee who sought safety in London with her family, she was violently raped while her young daughter was held hostage, seeks Sturrock’s help to move on and to find joy in life again.
All in the mind is Alastair Campbell, former Director of Communications for Tony Blair’s Labour governments, debut novel which is beautifully written and it rings with truth as he clearly uses his own past experiences with depression and alcoholism as the foundation for this novel. Campbell starred in an incredibly honest documentary about his depression in 2018 for the BBC.
The Other Side of You is much more romantic than All in the Mind, far more about love, trust and art than the practising psychiatry. This causes you to think considerably more about the state of your heart rather than your head. Dr David McBride receives Elizabeth Cruikshank into his care following a failed suicide attempt, however he struggles to engage her until he mentions an Italian Artist, Caravaggio whose art had a huge impact on Elizabeth’s life.
‘Age and disease and death may destroy our physical being but it is other people who get inside us and damage our hearts and minds. My work has occasioned ample example of this but it was Elizabeth Cruikshank who really made me under stand it.’
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