2014 EVENTS:
Holly Bourne, Non Pratt and James Dawson - 30th October
Becca Fitzpatrick - 15th November

Friday, 6 February 2015

GUEST REVIEW: Alice and the Fly - James Rice

Friday, 6 February 2015
GENRE: YA/Mental Health
PAGES: 336
FORMAT: Hardback
BUY IT: Waterstones
RATING: 5 Stars

A spellbinding first novel by a British author about how obsessions and phobias can upend your entire life. This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It's about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it's about love. Finding love - in any of its forms - and nurturing it. Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition's caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I'll flood out all these tears and it'll all be ok and I won't be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can't think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories - Herb's death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah - but none of these are what caused the phobia. I've always had it. It's Them. I'm just scared of Them. It's that simple.

Words cannot describe how I truly feel about this book. It’s one of those that remain with you for a long time, changing your perception on the world around you.

Alice and the Fly is told from the perspective of a young teenage boy named Greg who suffers from a mental illness (Perhaps a spoiler?) known as schizophrenia. This definitely sparked my interest because the book I had been writing on and off for the past couple of years has been about the same mental illness, and I found that it really sparked up ideas and inspiration for my own book. Books about mental illness can sometimes be tricky, since a lot of people are oblivious to many types of ‘insanities’ as people like to call them, and what they involve, and therefore writers must ensure that they put it across well. And I have to say, James Rice does it so perfectly it honestly astounds me.

Although I personally do not suffer from a mental illness, my mother’s sister as well as one of my close friends do, and even though it’s quite different from Greg’s, I can see similarities not in the way they act but rather in the way people around them react. Suffers tend to be made fun off or passed off as going through a ‘phase’ which leads to terrible consequences as this book explores- and it definitely speaks to those who need to open their eyes and learn more about mental health and its effects on the person as well as society.

Understanding of such illnesses need to be explored, saying that they are ‘psycho’ or ‘possessed’ is a common trait in modern day society which needs to be eradicated. Families and schools need to be taught how to deal with such situations and children need to be taught not to be full of hatred towards people who may be different. I personally believe that James Rice’s book will hopefully reach many people and perhaps help them understand things from a person with a mental illness, and how it is most definitely not their fault. They require our help not our hate.

I was a bit hesitant going into the book, since I do have a slight fear of spiders; dreaming about them and sometimes imagining them, but even though parts of the book did make my skin crawl; it’s definitely worth it.

James Rice’s Alice and the Fly will be a big hit in 2015, and I cannot wait to read more of his word.

- Maryam.

1 comment:

  1. I definitely agree that it is important to increase understanding of mental health issues. When I interviewed the author recently (Interview with James Rice) he was keen to stress that there is a lot more to the book than mental health but I think it's an important part of it for a lot of readers.


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