'Stylistically The State of Me is an easy, unpretentious read, peppered with acerbic internalisations that every ME sufferer wants to vocalise to every well-meaning person with a suggestion on how to get better. That said, there is no real bitterness to the book, quite the contrary, and the stories of those surrounding the narrator (nostalgically evoking the 1980s) give it many layers.' Mischa Hiller, author of Sabra Zoo and Shake Off '
'The amazing feat of this novel is to give one a sense of the pain and frustration of this condition, and yet to be bouncing with life, the inner life and the irrepressible psyche of Helen'Elizabeth Baines, author of The Birth Machine
‘A remarkable first novel … word perfect on neurological ME' Tony Britton, Publicity Manager, ME Association
A beautifully written debut novel by an exciting author.
Name: Helen Fleet
Work Experience: Waitress; Serial volunteer
Education: Four Highers: French (A), English (A), Maths (A), Chemistry (A), 1981; Ordinary Arts degree, MA, 1990; Certificate in Counselling Skills and Theory, 1992
Travel: France, Madeira, San Francisco, Rome, Greece. And London.
Relationships: Sex with three men: Hadi, Ivan and Fabio. I still love Ivan.
Additional Information: I have a mini hi-fi and a pine bookcase, and an expensive leather briefcase (got it in the January sales after Fabio and I had finished) and a suit I haven't worn since my graduation.
It's 1983 and 20-year-old university student Helen Fleet should be enjoying the best days of her life, but while all her friends go on to graduate and have careers in London, she is forced to return to her parents' home, bedridden with vile symptoms that doctors can't explain and often don't believe. She is eventually diagnosed with M.E., a cruel illness that she must learn to live with over the next decade. All of her relationships are tested – and changed – by her condition, but Helen's story is so much more than an account of her suffering. At times sad and at times funny, the author skillfully leads the reader through the trials and tribulations of Helen's life, perfectly capturing her unusual experiences as a twenty-something woman living in 80s Scotland with a mystery illness.
Based on the author's own experience of ME The State of Me explores the loneliness and chaos of one of the most misunderstood illnesses of our time, but also celebrates the importance of family, friendships, and sexual love.
A stunning, eloquent and linguistically perfect debut novel.