Saturday 8 July 2017

Book review : Me,Myself and Them - Dan Mooney

At some point in their lives, most people have a few personal demons to deal with, along with the odd skeleton in their closet. Denis Murphy, the central character of Dan Mooney's Me,Myself and Them, takes this to a whole new level though. He shares his house with an evil clown called Plasterer, a zombie Professor, Deano, who is a living furball, and Penny, a humanised cat. The freaky foursome take great delight in shoving Denis around, bullying him and trashing his house, but he manages to keep them out of his friends' way.

This is made easier by the fact that he actually has very few friends - not many people would be able to put up with Denis's antisocial habits and severe OCD. Denis exists but it would be a push to say he is really living. Then the sparkling, vivacious, beautiful Rebecca comes back into his life - his ex girlfriend, who knew the old Denis, before the accident that killed his best friend and his sister and threw him into this new, unsettled half-life, peopled with abusive, controlling monsters.

Many people use the expression "black dog" when referring to depression, so it is pretty clear that the cat, furball, zombie and evil clown are all figments of Denis's imagination, that he uses as coping mechanisms in his daily life and to cover up his own destructive (and self-destructive) behaviour. Denis sees them as very real and very frightening though, and I love the way the book ends with someone else catching a glimpse of a clown, giving leeway to the possibility of Denis not actually having imagined them at all.

It's a gut-wrenching, poignant read that really helps highlight certain aspects of mental health issues, that still remain taboo in modern society. It is heart-warming to see that, however awful his behaviour, Denis can count on his friends to try to pull him through the other side. Recovery is a long and difficult process but the book ends on a positive note, after playing with your nerves and making you expect a completely different ending - this will-he-won't-he tension highlights the precarity and fragility of recovery.

It's a slightly outlandish read, which may put some people off, but if you look beyond the weirdness, it is an enlightening and poignant account of one man's inner battles with his mental health issues. It is original and well crafted and it is well worth a read.

star rating : 4/5

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (1 Jun. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785079255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785079252
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 2.7 x 13 cm

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.


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