A disturbing account of the author's postnatal breakdown, taking the reader into the world of the psychiatric hospital and the terrors of electric shock treatment. The author searches for causes and meaning and pieces together the jigsaw of her childhood and adolescence.
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Out of Me is the compelling account of Fiona Shaw's hellish descent into post-natal depression. In a book which has drawn comparison with Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, she attempts to piece together her shattered identity in a testimony that is both intensely personal yet strangely objective.
The journey takes her back to a childhood where, peddled relentlessly to and fro between divided families, she was always the outsider. Increasingly driven into herself, she began to enact more and more obsessive cries for help. The most heart-rending episode tells of a feigned back pain that became a way of gaining her parents' attention. The weeks in hospital turn into months. She undergoes one test after another as the doctors try to determine the cause of her mysterious condition and finally, incredibly, spinal surgery. The terrifying clarity of her words transports you into the skewed world of a desperate child where the line between real and pretend becomes blurred. It is here we see the root of Shaw's terrifying ability to disassociate from herself and gain an insight into a bizarre psychic splitting process that can occur under extreme emotional stress. Perhaps, Shaw wonders, her breakdown came when it did because at last she was in a safe, loved enough place to allow it to happen. Out of Me explores themes of memory and identity, the fragile, fallible structures upon which we base our selves. It is a story of terrible, almost fatal despair but finally one of survival, reconstruction and understanding. --Rebecca JohnsonReview:
'Fiona Shaw's triumph is twofold. She has managed to both externalize and universalize her private hell... -- BEL MOONEY, THE TIMES
'Her brave book is hugely valuable...' -- Independent on Sunday
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