Tuesday 7 December 2021

Piece Of Mind : A Memoir of Folly, Melancholy & Madness by David Mark @davidmarkwriter #PieceOfMind #Memoir #FollyMelancholyMadness


Best-selling novelist David Mark’s first work of non-fiction is an excruciatingly honest account of living with acute mental illness.

This lyrical, raw and painfully funny memoir explores how it feels to house a monster inside your head: a slavering, seductive beast that whispers ‘kill yourself’ just when you start to think you’re happy. It’s the story of finding love and raising a family in the face of mania, depression, OCD, addiction, hallucinations, suicidal ideation, chronic anxiety and a genuine genius for self-sabotage.

Piece of Mind deals with the reality of waking every day and choosing not to die. It’s about enduring. Keeping on keeping on. It’s about fighting for your life when death seems so much bloody easier. It’s about becoming a best-selling novelist and fulfilling your dreams and then feeling so utterly empty inside that an ocean of whisky isn’t enough.

Piece of Mind :  A Memoir of Folly, Melancholy and Madness by David Mark was published on 18 October 2021. I bought my copy from Amazon online. 

There is no doubt that there are a lot of books that feature mental health.  Self-help books, memoirs, fictional stories, poetry ... the shelves are full of them.  I haven't read a lot of these books. Whilst I know that some of the authors who seem to specialise in mental health writing have lots of fans, and are thought of very highly, I do get the impression that some of them are defined by their illness, instead of by their talent, or by their own personality. 

David Mark is a crime author. He's from Hull. He's a very talented author, he also lives with acute mental illness. I know David Mark as a crime fiction author, I don't think as him as the bloke who writes crime who also battles with demons. To me, he's a crime fiction author first. He doesn't define himself by his illness, in fact, I'd go as far as to say that he's denied it and tried to hide it for many years. 

This is a brutally honest, often disturbing read. There were a couple of times when reading this that I wanted to find David and give him a hug. I've met him at book events, he is always jolly and funny, cracking jokes and joining in. I looked back and realised that according to the time line in this book, there were events that I'd attended, and chatted with David that were bang in the middle of his crisis. I didn't know. He hides things.

Mental illness is not fun, it is not made up of a few wobbles and some pills and then a barrage of self-help memes. It's degrading, to the person themselves and to their loved ones. It's grubby and it's frightening. It changes lives and whole perspectives. It makes children scared of their parent, it splits up families and it not easy to get rid of. 

It's clear that David Mark has had issues with mental health for many years, he talks about his early years, about his parents and especially about his Dad's issues. David talks about his first romantic relationships, and then goes on to describe his many relationship break downs. He doesn't hold back, and there are times when I am sure that he really really doesn't like himself. It can be hard, as a person who is mentally well, to try to understand some of his reasonings and behaviours. He doesn't sugar coat stuff and he doesn't try to make excuses. 

It's a startling, enlightening read. Sometimes it rambles a little, but that is actually so much in keeping with the narrative that it fits quite beautifully. Mental health professionals should be made to read this book, people who are dealing with their own demons should read this book and those of us who are lucky enough to be free of these issues should also read it. We should all read it and learn from it.

Wishing you well David, thank you for writing this. 

David spent more than fifteen years as a journalist, including seven years as a crime reporter with the
Yorkshire Post - walking the Hull streets that would later become the setting for the Detective Sergeant Aector McAvoy novels.

He has been championed by such industry luminaries as Val McDermid, Peter James, Mick Herron and Martina Cole.

He has written eight novels in the McAvoy series: Dark Winter, Original Skin, Sorrow Bound, Taking Pity, Dead Pretty, Cruel Mercy, Scorched Earth and Cold Bones as well as two McAvoy novellas, A Bad Death and Fire of Lies, which are available as ebooks. McAvoy will return in 2021 with the prequel Darkness Falls, and new installment PAST LIFE.

His first historical thriller, The Zealot’s Bones, was a Sunday Times Book of the Year. With publishers Severn House, he has written the critically-acclaimed thrillers The Burying Ground, A Rush of Blood, Borrowed Time, Suspicious Minds and Cages.

His first work of non-fiction, a mental health memoir detailing his battle with depression and addiction, was released in September. Piece of Mind has been described as 'lyrical, raw, brutal and very funny'.

Dark Winter was selected for the Harrogate New Blood panel (where he was Reader in Residence) and was a Richard & Judy pick and a Sunday Times bestseller. Dead Pretty was long-listed for the Crime Writers Association Gold Dagger in 2016, as was Cold Bones in 2019.

David’s Radio 4 drama, A Marriage of Inconvenience, aired in 2017. His first novel has been adapted for the stage and was a sell-out smash in Hull. He has also written for the theatre and has contributed articles and reviews to several national and international publications. He is a regular performer at literary festivals and is a sought-after public speaker. He also teaches creative writing.

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