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Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression Paperback – 16 Oct 2006

54 customer reviews

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Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression + Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression + I Had a Black Dog
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; New Ed edition (16 Oct. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007232802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007232802
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 92,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Brave, affecting and uplifting.' The Times

‘While many books about depression bring one down with their tales of dark mood states, and others bring one down with artificial and unconvincing messages of hope, Gwyneth Lewis's “Sunbathing in the Rain” is both witty and wise: a profound musing on the problem of depression that is deeply informed yet full of hope and cheer.’ Andrew Solomon, author of the award-winning ‘The Noonday Demon’

‘“Sunbathing in the Rain” is undoubtedly the best book I have ever read about one person’s experience of depression.' Dorothy Rowe, author of ‘Breaking the Bonds’

‘I started reading the book on a rainy afternoon and read it right through without stopping to late evening. I was seized by its rhythm of discovery, its humour, courage and sharp-eyed insight. Gwyneth truly draws on literature, bringing to bear writers from everywhere and every time as part of present experience. She gives you confidence in poetry. And she is wonderfully down-to-earth in her advice.’ Dame Professor Gillian Beer, President of Clare Hall, Cambridge University

'Genuinely life-changing…It should be available free on the NHS.' The Guardian

From the Publisher

A profound, frivolous, practical and radical new perspective that makes life possible again. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

93 of 94 people found the following review helpful By S. Milligan on 18 April 2005
Format: Paperback
Fantastic. This book was a critical part of my recovery, having picked it up quite randomly from a book store. For me, it is the most accurate account of my experience of depression I have heard from ANYONE. Most importantly of all, it offers those with depression methods of coping with the illness rather than another description of depression. I didn't need to know what depression felt like - I knew EXACTLY what it felt like - what I craved from a book or professional was actual coping strategies for the hell I was going through. Depression fades with time but never goes away, so I felt I needed to 'arm' myself and learn how to live with it. I would never wish depression on my worst enemy, and if you are reading this and have it, I wish you all the best in your recovery. There actually is light at the end of the tunnel!
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127 of 129 people found the following review helpful By Alison A on 16 Nov. 2005
Format: Paperback
I've been severely clinically depressed, on and off, for 21 years. I'm currently in Month 20 of the lastest bout - the worst ever, which forced me to give up work 18 months ago.
Over the years I have read countless books on depression, mostly self-help books. And I can honestly say that none of them has ever helped me even a little bit.
I started reading Sunbathing in the Rain with a sigh of "here we go again - more time and effort to put into reading a book, with no payback". I couldn't have been more wrong.
I literally couldn't put this book down. It made me laugh and cry in equal measure and for the first time in my life I felt I was in the presence of someone who understood what it's REALLY like to be depressed. Best of all, this book has given me hope and heart and the ability to look forward to the future.
It is also, by the way, beautifully written and pleasure to read on that level alone.
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88 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Hilary Jane on 26 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
Gwyneth Lewis wrote Sunbathing in the Rain as the book she wished she'd had when curled up like a frozen prawn with devastating depression. It's much more than that though, and you certainly don't need the same diagnosis or the same desperation to benefit from Lewis's gripping insights, which go beyond any narrow definition and plunge straight into the human condition itself.
This isn't a self help book. As Lewis says, self help is the last thing a depressive needs. Instead, it's a personal account of depression, mixed with down to earth advice and good old fashioned comfort and reassurance. Aimed at depressives, it's helpful that Lewis has also broken up the text with short and realistically readable quotes from other writers who know what they're talking about.
We don't get just any personal account of depression either, we get a poet's account, which to me is significant for two reasons. For a start, no-one writes prose like a poet. It might seem like bad taste to consider Sunbathing in the Rain as an exquisitely written work of literature, but it would be impossible to ignore that it is. More significantly perhaps, Lewis presents a very convincing case for a close connection between depression and the act of writing poetry. So convincing that I almost started to sympathise with the insurance company that notoriously charges fellow poet Simon Armitage considerably more to cover the risk of living his life as a writer than when he was a probation officer.
There are some unsettling ideas here about the nature and possible causes of depression. Echoing Les Murray's assertion that the cure for depression is the truth, Lewis adds that depression "says the way you've been living is unbearable".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mel Bourne on 19 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a fantastic counselor I had been seeing for depression. She noted that my depression worked very similarly to the author's in that it came at a time when I had been pushing myself too hard for too long and was essentially a call to "slow down." Of course, this is a slightly simplistic way of looking at depression and one criticism I have of the book itself is that at times depression is treated somewhat simplistically. For example, the author appears to assume that all people who have suffered from depression are creative or gifted in some way.

Having said that, I very much enjoyed this book. It's written in a manner that makes it easy to read, even when you are lacking energy/motivation. The author has clearly done a lot of research but does not simply spew facts at us; instead she gives her own opinion on the variety of sources she cites and allows us to come to our own conclusions. The style is simple, mostly informal and friendly without being patronising. You really feel as though the author is directly addressing you and genuinely wants to help.

Whilst I did resent somewhat the idea of depression as a "gift" the author does acknowledge that it is also very much a curse and of course an illness, which has claimed many lives.

Overall there are parts of the book I would say to take with a pinch of salt. (You need to bear in mind that the author is somewhat privileged when it comes to financial security, job security and has a loving and supportive family - not things all of us are lucky enough to have!) However, this book has been extremely useful to me and has even given me the odd giggle or two. (At last someone who shares my hatred of the constant "diet and exercise!" mantra.) That alone, for me, makes it more than worth the money.
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