The Wellcome Book Prize 2019 – Mind On Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning

The Wellcome Book Prize is almost here and I’ve been lucky enough to work with the team on another fantastic book in the short list. I received a copy of Mind On Fire in exchange for this blog and my honest opinions.

I’ve really enjoyed working with the Wellcome Book Prize in the past because it has such a diverse long list, it really shows a broad scope of what it means to be human. Here’s a peak at the 2019 short list. Now, on with my thoughts.

Mind on Fire recounts Fanning’s own experience of mental illness, the good, the bad and the ugly. Through the pages of this novel you are transported to his side and at first it can be a little hard to understand – particularly as the book opens with a manic episode. I think that could throw some people off but I would say to work through it because it is a worthwhile read.

Fanning goes through a lot in these pages, from his initial breakdown, hospitalisations, homelessness, his travels and attempts to still be creative despite his mental illness. It is a difficult read, you want to reach through and help. You want to make a change so that people with a mental illness who are struggling.

This also shows what mental illness can do to the relationships of those around them. The breakdown of Fanning’s relationships with his father and sister were incredibly truthful – I can’t imagine this was an easy book to write.

I gave this book I 4 stars. An important an interesting read but I can appreciate that for some it could be quite hard to get into. This is incredibly raw and hits home what life with a mental illness can be like.

Thank you to the Wellcome Book Prize, the author and publisher for this opportunity.

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