Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Underneath the Lemon Tree: A Memoir of Depression" - Mark Rice-Oxley

Another non-sporting book review, and insight into my eclectic book buying habit...

"Underneath the Lemon Tree: A Memoir of Depression" - Mark Rice-Oxley 
To be sure to give the book its complete title "Underneath the Lemon Tree: A Memoir of Depression", this was one of those books that does spring off the shelves at people it comes with a knowing smile and a "you really should read this it is so, well, just so" kind of comment. Given that I am it seems an utterly suggestible person and at least I gave the description a read on-line and then caved to the mildest peer pressure and gave it a go. In the end I came to understand what it was that those knowing smiles were trying to say.
Customarily I begin to gush about why I thought the book was great and why you might enjoy reading it, well I am going to try to be more measured in my overview. The book is written by a journalist and family man who is laid low with a bout of depression, and seemingly true to his nature journals his experience of the condition and his efforts to understand what it is whilst seeking to come to terms with life after diagnosis. It is brutally honest its chronicling while so well written as to give insight into the processes of descent into and ascent from depression within the context of personal, family and work life.
As someone who through family and personal experience has had some insight into the subject, and moreover the devastating impact of not talking about the subject of depression, it was so beneficial to read such a clear account. I want to at this point say much more but then actually I realise that I can't articulate the subject as well as the author... so in fact in the end I am be joining the ranks of those who give that knowing smile and say quietly "you really should read this it is so, well... just so". Most of all though I will do what I have always tried to do and listen to the person I mention this book to, because listening can do so much in so many ways for people affected directly or in directly by depression. The book doesn't offer a cure all, or a happy clappy way forward, it is genuine real and just firmly and quietly says "there is something more to come... go with the rationalising / healing process and you'll be just fine".
Footnote:  It is true that I most often find more in a biography than almost any other form of literature, the human conditions is true to us all in its many shades and nuances and in general makes for compelling reading. So much so in this instance that the next book I picked up was a sporting challenge biography. If it so happens you have not ever picked one up I challenge you to find one by someone you relate to and open its cover - happy reading.

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