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Go To Sleep [Paperback]

Helen Walsh
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.88 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 July 2011

As she drinks in the view in front of her, Rachel Massey stands on the cusp of the biggest journey of her life. For Rachel is about to become a mother. Mere hours from now, her first baby will be here and she can't wait to meet it. Terrified and excited, there is nothing she wants more, yet she senses things will never be the same again.

This is the story of Rachel's voyage into motherhood. Full of the same hopes and dreams as any parent-to-be, she soon realises that nothing about this new world is as she imagined. As the raw shock of sleep deprivation takes its toll on her and the truth begins to blur with the unreal, Rachel becomes consumed by one sole desire - to sleep. But how far will she go to get her baby to sleep?

Devastatingly honest and shockingly painful at times, Go To Sleep is a heart-wrenching story about one woman and her newborn child. It strips motherhood bare in the most unforgettable of ways.

Frequently Bought Together

Go To Sleep + The Lemon Grove + Before We Met
Price For All Three: 17.87

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  • The Lemon Grove 3.49
  • Before We Met 3.50

Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857860054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857860057
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 443,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Compelling, unflinching and significant...invested with humour and colour (The List)

A brave and uncompromising novel that absolutely needed to be written (dovegreyreader)

Whether conjuring up the sights, smells and sounds of Liverpool's Carnival, or recreating the terrifying agony of sleeplessness Walsh is wonderfully in control of her world. Rachel's frenzied fatigue seeps off the novel's pages, inexorably carrying you along on her sleep-deprived journey. And you want to go along: Walsh is so terrific at making Rachel's universe immediate and vivid that you stay, immersed and riveted, as Rachel's world goes topsy-turvy. One of the more unusual, urgent young voices writing in Britain today, and very much of today's Britain, Walsh boldly confronts contemporary life, and her latest novel is a combustible combination of raw emotion and deep compassion (Independent on Sunday)

A more mature, but still hard hitting book.. powerfully told. (Doug Johnstone Big Issue)

A combustible combination of raw emotion and deep compassion. (Daneet Steffens Independent on Sunday)

There will be lots here that is depressingly familiar to new parents. Walsh is particularly strong on that strung out narcotic hungover feeling of what life is like with too little sleep. (Bookmunch)

Given that it's about postnatal depression and psychosis we're not saying it's a happy book, but Walsh has a real way with words, so deep breaths... (Herald)

Book Description

An extraordinary account of a young woman's journey into motherhood

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painful but True 6 July 2011
I bought this because my wife and I had a nightmare time with our first child who didn't sleep more than 2 hours until he was three. I was hoping it would help me understand a bit more why we both just fell apart and we were lucky to have any relationship left to rebuild.

And the book did help. It looks into all the dark corners of the post natal soul and puts it all out there. Incredibly painful... and with absolute truth.

On top of all that it's beautifully written. A much needed triumph.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner! 14 July 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Helen Walsh is one of those writers who manages to grab you from the first page and keeps hold of you long after you have finished her books. I didn't think she would be able to top 'Once Upon A Time In England' (an absolutely stunning book where I fell in love with every character), but I think she's done it here with the incredibly powerful 'Go To Sleep'. As with 'Brass', this book is at times brutally honest and shocking; Walsh is a brave writer whose work is all the better for this.

Rachel's journey down into deep depression and despair after the birth of her baby was compelling and the ending had me crying my eyes out!!! Hopefully this book will do its bit in making society sit up and take notice about a topic that is often ignored, despite how common it is.

A brilliant, gripping read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult but excellent read 6 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Helen Walsh certainly doesn't shy away from writing about difficult subject matters. I read The Lemon Grove last month and liked it, and I remembered I had Go To Sleep on my Kindle. I bought it before I had my baby (now 6 months) but I think if I had read it then I just wouldn't have got it.

Rachel Massey is pregnant at the start of the book. After a traumatic birth she becomes single mother to baby Joe. But Joe doesn't sleep well and Rachel quickly becomes exhausted and starts hallucinating. She finds Joe so hard to cope with.

I identified with quite a bit of this novel and found myself highlighting bits on my Kindle. I felt a lot of sympathy for Rachel but it was hard to read about some of her actions. Something happens towards the end of the book that gave me such a sense of foreboding and brought tears to my eyes. This is an excellent read, very well-written and about a difficult and emotional subject matter. Perhaps this should be read alongside parenting manuals to show that life isn't lived according to textbooks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be shocked it happens 8 July 2011
By brownie
As shocking as you think this book may be, if you are a mother you been there
This took me back when I wanted desperately to be in control. No amount of classes or books prepares you for the enormity of motherhood. Worse still for Rachel she is single professional and intelligent, thinking this will be easy and she cannot wait for her bundle of joy.
There is no father to support her and to help her through what is a nightmare, and at the time going through post natal depression (PND) you are in a black cloud and nothing prepares you for this or the day to day monotony of the first few weeks at home with a child that will not stop crying.
This is about chronic sleep depravation, but Rachel has a deep love for her son, but this little boy is foreign to her and the readers desperate need to hug her and tell her its ok it will get better.
All too often women try to hide this and shy away from talking about it- its real and needs to be brought out into the open.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave, Bold and Beautiful 18 July 2011
By Pashun
Helen Walsh is a writer who elicits genuine excitement with each new novel. Having devoured Brass and Once Upon a Time in England, I was eager to pick up Go To Sleep. Having heard Walsh on Radio Four, and an appearance on This Morning following her piece in The Times, I was intrigued to discover her new work dealt with sleep deprivation, specifically relating to the experience of parenting.

As a fan of Walsh's work, I wondered if this topic would compromise her former prowess in weaving dark, fearless tales of the subterranean. This novel is amazing. As one can expect with Walsh's writing, I was initiated from the first page. What follows is a helter skelter ride into the recesses of mental and emotional exhaustion. Rachel, our protagonist, gives us an unflinching confessional of her own limitations. Her love for her baby son, Joe, urges her on, yet, isolated and intimidated by the demands of early motherhood, I found myself speeding through each chapter.

Walsh's unique voice is never compromised. Brave, bold and beautiful, this story unmistakably belongs to the Walsh canon. If you have yet to discover her work, you are in for a revelation. Walsh lends authenticity to relevant, commercial matter with a sharp, insightful gaze and a literary talent which is a pleasure to read.

Most importantly, Walsh has broken down the barricades surrounding preconceived notions of motherhood. An honest, unflinching account which lends voice to legions of new mothers who desperately need to be heard. In a culture which measures post-natal success by the size of it's skinny jeans, Walsh has once again succeeded in presenting us with an original and intelligent counterpoint. Another triumph. Thank you, Ms. Walsh!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling 19 Feb 2014
By Sarah
As other reviewers have commented, this is quite an uncomfortable read - but definitely worth it, especially if you have ever suffered from post natal depression or been in a similar situation. Utterly absorbing, I could not put this book down and stayed up late into the night to read it all in one day.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I loved this book from start to finish. Bonded with the character, great insight into motherhood and mental illness without being too depressing. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Miss S J Blackbourn
4.0 out of 5 stars The other side of motherhood
When a one night stand with an ex leaves Rachel pregnant, she decides to go ahead and have the baby by herself. She is a strong, independent woman, she will be a great mother. Read more
Published on 24 Aug 2012 by Curiosity Killed The Bookworm
2.0 out of 5 stars A Terrible Waste of an Opening
It is Toxteth, Liverpool, today. Rachel is heavily pregnant after a one night stand with Reuben, an ex and her first love. Read more
Published on 10 Mar 2012 by Kartowidjojo
4.0 out of 5 stars Failure to bond
Enjoyed this book about a single mother who struggles to bond and cope with her baby as she suffers severe sleep deprivation and probable post-natal depression. Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2011 by Elka
4.0 out of 5 stars a brave book of uncomfortable truths
Helen Walsh's previous output has been a pretty unflinching account of modern North West youth, self absorbed, driven by alcohol, sex and drugs but also dangerously, compellingly... Read more
Published on 8 Dec 2011 by S. Travers
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple idea, complex book
The idea for this book is quite simple but very interesting. The book is based around a woman, Rachel, who has just given birth for the first time and is likely suffering from... Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2011 by Stepping Out of the Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Painful to read but brutally honest
Helen Walsh is the author of `Once Upon a Time in England', a book I read and really enjoyed (even though it made my cry) a couple of years ago. Read more
Published on 11 Sep 2011 by Denise4891
5.0 out of 5 stars Very accurate,page turning read.
I picked up this book during my second pregnancy with trepidation as I was not sure I needed reminding of how awful those first few months can be. Read more
Published on 11 Sep 2011 by elizabeth
2.0 out of 5 stars Go to Sleep
I read this book having suffered a similar experience, but I found it a general poor read and really quite disappointing.
Published on 10 Sep 2011 by Helen
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb reading
Usually when reading a book, if I am not engaged in the first few chapters I lose interest, I cannot say that for this book, it maginficiently portrayed a taboo that is not usually... Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2011 by Coco
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