Book review: My name is..., By Alastair Campbell
A gripping tale of addiction
Sunday 15 September 2013
Alastair Campbell’s first novel All In The Mind, about a psychiatrist and his various lost patients, touched on the author’s emotional experiences of psychological breakdown, as did his 2008 memoir The Happy Depressive, which also dealt with his period of alcohol dependence. His third novel takes the subject of alcoholism again, and explores its development in a young woman called Hannah.
Hauntingly, most of the story is narrated through those characters close to her – her mother, brow-beaten by her continually unfaithful husband; her father, adoring but destructive; the child-minder who looked after Hannah and her sunnier little sister; Hannah’s swimming coach; teacher; first boyfriend, and so on.
Personal accounts are convincing and gradual changes of jobs/pupil demographics over time add authenticity. A picture emerges of a vulnerable girl growing up in a desperately unhappy home, with genes for addictive behaviour rife in her background, feeling protective about her sister, rejected by her beleaguered mother, and abandoned by her one strength, swimming, because state school kids don’t receive support. The tenacity Campbell brought to bear in politics is matched here by his gripping inhabitation of his characters. Stunning.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 iPhone 6 review: bigger, thinner, faster, brighter - Apple proves you can make the best better
- 2 Sports Direct security guard allegedly banned Jewish schoolboys and told them: 'No Jews, no Jews'
- 3 Watch a man race the Circle line - and win
- 4 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 5 Kanye West halts concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Emma Thompson admits being frightened ahead of Sweeney Todd West End appearance
Robin Thicke admits he did not write 'Blurred Lines'
Star Trek 3 to begin shooting in next six months
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'