Book Review: Surviving Me by Jo Johnson
Title: Surviving Me
Author: Jo Johnson
Publisher: Unbound Digital
Release date: 14th Nov 2019
Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.
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.
This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.
I loved this book but it became a difficult book to read. Not because of the writing style or plot but because I connected with Tom so deeply it made me sob and feel his despair. Only a good book can do that. Tom has his flaws but it became easy to understand how one delay in telling the truth could snowball into the nightmare of depression. This often humorous story unfolds slowly giving you time to know the characters and care for them. The scenes in the cafe are an in-depth study of personalities and interesting to read but even though Adam and others play a role in this novel, this is predominantly Tom’s story.
It discusses many difficult topics such as fertility, depression, suicide and illness in a sensitive manner which makes it emotional and harrowing in places but it is an important read in a time when male suicide is high. It gave me an insight into the mind as it declines into mental illness and a greater understanding. This was helped by reading the male perspective rather than the usual female protagonist I have read in the past.
Would I recommend?
Yes, it is an insightful, deep and important novel which left me emotionally drained. Tom’s voice and actions will stay with me for a long time. Have tissues with you and mentally prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster.
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.
Social Media Links
Giveaway to 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
Click here to enter and good luck!
Thank you Rachel Random Resources for bringing this book to my attention and giving me the opportunity to read an advanced copy to review.
Stay at home if you can and stay safe.
*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 despatch or delivery of the prize.