A genuinely funny and original novel about mental illness, growing up and parental breakdown from much-loved comedienne Jo Brand. Alice is five, and convinced she needs five personalities to cope.
Her family, tucked in a cottage in deepest Herefordshire, are a bit weird.
Her mother Gina is obsessed with the weatherman on the local news and when she climbs naked onto the roof with Alice's pet guinea pig in her arms, she is whisked off to the local psychiatric hospital.
Keith, Alice's father, tries to keep calm, but his patience is severely tested by his in-laws.
The only thing that gives Alice's hope is her love for Morrissey of The Smiths...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Headline Publishing Group
- Publication Date: 07/01/2010
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780755322329
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Review by scuzzy
Jo Brand is sort of the literary Janis Joplin. Not the most stunning woman you could come across, but with a certain something, a special 'thing' that gives her a sexy edge. With Janis it is the voice, and other than Joss Stone, no other woman has the voice, and with Jo it is her dead pan humour, not like Jen Saunders or Dawn French which is a little more mainstream, but more like Tracy Ullman or Kathy Burke.As I have always maintained, I find all women attractive, just some more attractive than others. Anyway, I am being sidelined from telling you about this book. She has written a few books it seems and this one is the latest (about 2 years old by the time I got to it) and I loved it. Very much in her style of delivering a story live or doing her routine I couldn't help but wonder if this was some sort of biography she has written it so well. I think it is very much aimed at the English sense of humour and could be 'missed' by American readers although you could not help but picture the Wildgoose brothers as two stereotyped rednecks from the US south.While the story is really based around one character, a girl named Alice, as she grows up in small town Herefordshire (or something like that) it as much focuses on her mum, Gina, a woman who appears to have a devilish streak about her which actually turns out to be full-blown schizophrenia as she ages. Caught up in the middle is poor-suffering hubby and dad, Keith, a loveable guy who does his best to portray himself as a hippy.Brilliantly written and more than a giggle and roar here and there it is also a sobering insight into the world of bi-polar disorders and the effect it has on those around them.Other than the unlikey and all too convenient ending I would recommend this, but unfortunately the last chapter or two undid all the good work the previous 20-odd chapters did.