I’m happy to be hosting a stop on the blog tour today for Surviving Me by Jo Johnson. Thank you to Rachel over at Rachel’s Random Resources for my invite onto the tour and the ecopy which I read in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Firstly, a little bit about the book
Tom has decided he doesn’t want to live. Adam wishes he had a choice.
Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.
All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.
If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.
Surviving Me is published by Unbound and is available to buy now in paperback and ebook…
Mental health from a male perspective is what inclined me to read Surviving Me – I felt it would be a refreshing, yet important change to read from that angle. Yet please don’t think this is an all doom and gloom novel, as it really isn’t due to the upbeat way it’s been written – of course there are those moments which address the serious side, realities and surrounding issues of male mental health, but there’s also plenty of lighter-hearted moments.
The novel begins with Siri hearing that her husband Tom has gone missing. The novel then rewinds back to Tom and the events leading up to that moment – how Tom and his new circumstances really don’t fit in with his wife’s very definitive five year plan anymore and the unravelling thread from there on. A second sub-plot slots in alongside about Adam (Siri’s brother) who has also started to act very out of character.
Mainly told from Tom’s point of view is where the authenticity really lies, as it’s rather fascinating hearing his thoughts and how the human mind works – you feel like you’re inside it listening to him plan out how to face the challenges of what life’s throwing at him (the sane, utterly bonkers and devastating thoughts it can lead us to). It’s also Tom who picks up on the changes in Adam, and what follows for these two men – Tom who no longer wants to live, and Adam who desperately wants to survive and live, is an equally heart-breaking yet uplifting story. I really felt their struggles, that kind of self-pride to keep it away from their wives whatever the cost, because of this masculine and hard man persona the world expects of this sex. It’s a painfully honest account due to the number of men who are feeling like this and end up being pushed to the edge.
Johnson uses her professional knowledge to enhance our understanding of how our minds work but not so much that it comes across in a text book kind of manner rather than a story. Mental health and male suicide is obviously top of the subject matters, but contributing factors to that such as infertility, Huntington’s disease,redundancy, unplanned pregnancy and depression are all looked upon but, like I said at the beginning, this isn’t all doom and gloom, there is a tunnel of light with brushings of humour to discover alongside the characters.
Surviving Me is an importantly current, compelling and upbeat tale of male mental health and the strength that comes from self-forgiveness, opening up and friendship which helps that storm to pass.
About the author
I’m very excited that my debut novel ‘Surviving Me’ is due to be published on the 14 November. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.
I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects.
I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.
Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”.
In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help
employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.
Win two signed copies of Surviving Me & five Surviving Me fridge magnets (Open INT)
1st Prize – 2 winners each winning a signed copy of Surviving Me
5 Runners Up – each winning a Surviving Me Fridge Magnet
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.
Thank you for reading my review, and please please check out the other blogger stops on the Surviving Me blog tour…