When I first started reading this book, I didn't quite know what to make of it, particularly the narrator, Pat - I found myself getting slightly irritated with him. But his sweetness and innocence grew on me, and I realised after the first chapter that I was turning the pages with my fingers crossed for him.
The story begins with Pat leaving a mental institution and trying to return to normal life, into a family which has been devastated by his incarceration. He is desperate, with a childish simplicity by turns endearing and exasperating, to get back with his ex wife, Nikki and his whole life focuses on this. But why did they really split up? And where did Pat's mental problems begin? What is the real problem with Tiffany, his new friend with her own mental and emotional difficulties?
This book is easy to read: it's very simply written, yet the matters it deals with are complex. At times I was laughing out loud, at others I had tears in my eyes. The author takes away the stigma of mental illness and you warm to his characters. While Pat is the narrator, his friends and family have their own smaller story to tell about what happened and how it has affected them. You come away from the book feeling slightly better for having known them, and for those with limited experience, perhaps a little more perception of mental illness. I look forward to reading another by this perceptive and gentle author.