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.

WBP 10th anniversary blog tour

Happy 10th Anniversary To The Wellcome Book Prize!

Last year I was thrilled to be a part of the Wellcome Book Prize Blog Tour, reviewing We Need To Talk About Death by Kathryn Mannix and so, when I was asked to take part in the 10th Anniversary I happily obliged.

For my post, I will be focusing on the shortlist from 2010, and what a year it was! Shall we get stuck in?

WINNER! The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

After dying from Cancer in 1951, Henrietta Lacks was not a notable woman, however, she would change history. Her Cancer cells, taken without permission, would be used by scientists and make millions. Read more here.

Angel of Death -The Story of Smallpox – Gareth Williams

Exactly what it says on the tin, this is a history of the disease smallpox, once a deadly disease it has now been wiped out. Gareth Williams tells us how in this book.

Teach Us to Sit Still -A sceptic’s search for health and healing – Tim Parks

A look at our own perceptions on how we view illness and what our own perceptions mean when we are ill. Inspired by Tim Parks own illness and what helped him recover instead of traditional medicine.

So Much For That – Lionel Shriver

A novel about love, life and how sometimes it’s not fair. After selling his business for $1 million it’s time for the Knacker’s to enjoy their lives. That is until Glynis receives a cancer diagnosis.

Medic -John Nichols and Tony Rennell

A look at this history of the army medic from Dunkirk to Afghanistan, with stories from both men and women who helped to save lives on the front line.

Grace Williams Says It Loud – Emma Henderson

And finally, the novel that I received for this post looks at the institutionalisation of people with mental and physical disabilities.

While this does make not of the horrific conditions and the way patients were treated, it also shows how friendships and relationships can blossom, even in the worst of places. Truly a novel that will make you think and based on the author’s experiences of having a sibling in such a place.

Which of these would you pick up? Let me know in the comments below!