"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mr. Chartwell

by Rebecca Hunt

Sir. Winston Churchill, the famous British politician, was a brilliant and talented man.  What some do not know is that he also suffered all his life from bouts of manic depression.  He called his depression the "Black Dog."

This book takes that premise and creates a fabulously inventive, original, and witty fiction about Churchill's interaction with his "Black Dog" and also tells the story of a woman named Esther who is also dealing with her own depression.  It is a quick read and quite compelling.

When you first start, the story is a little strange and mysterious.  But it leaves you intrigued, wondering just who this "Mr. Chartwell" is, and if you are able to suspend your disbelief a bit and let the story unfold, it is a wonderful narrative.  It may sound depressing, but it is actually full of subtle humor and wonderful descriptions.  I especially loved the historical details that Hunt includes about Churchill and his family relationships, and one cannot get enough of his fabulous words. 

My mother has long suffered from depression and while hers may not be as bad as what Churchill struggled with, it has many of the same characteristics.  This book gave me a better understanding of what it must be like to live with depression constantly threatening otherwise happy days.  It is an inspiring book and gives hope to those with depression, or those who try to help others deal with it.

If you know of anyone with depression, this should be high on your reading list.

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