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4.6 out of 5 stars75
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 12 December 2013
as I'm quite a fan of Alastair Campbell and have hugely enjoyed his diaries. This is such a didactic piece of writing, I'm not sure it qualifies as a novel. This is not to say these issues do not need airing, just that it reads as such a thinly disguised personal account and the character of Hannah is so inauthentic. Even a bright teenager does not talk or write like this! I like the idea of presenting a situation in the round by tapping into a number of participants' stories; it's just that there is is insufficient difference between their presentation - or register - to ring true.
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on 13 May 2016
Alastair Campbell’s first novel All In The Mind, about a psychiatrist and his various lost patients, touched on the author’s emotional experiences of psychological breakdown, as did his 2008 memoir The Happy Depressive, which also dealt with his period of alcohol dependence. His third novel takes the subject of alcoholism again, and explores its development in a young woman called Hannah.

Hauntingly, most of the story is narrated through those characters close to her – her mother, brow-beaten by her continually unfaithful husband; her father, adoring but destructive; the child-minder who looked after Hannah and her sunnier little sister; Hannah’s swimming coach; teacher; first boyfriend, and so on.

This isn’t the sort of book I would normally read, but my Mum lent it to me after she has finished it, so I gave it a try. I think she read it mainly because of her interest in Alastair Campbell and his past involvement with alcohol, but I was just interested in the story.

I have mixed feelings about this book. Whilst it read well, and is written using an original and clever approach, I found I couldn’t really emote with the characters as much as I wanted to.

The book tells the story of Hannah, following from her birth through to about the age of eighteen, as she descends into alcoholism and depression. It is told through the viewpoints of various people in her life; her mother, her first boyfriend, her best friend etc. Each chapter is from a different viewpoint, and each person only gets only chapter to tell a small part of Hannah’s story. The multiple points of view Campbell uses to narrate the tale are, for me, both the book’s downfall and it’s strength. It makes it quite unique but, because we only visit each character once, it left me feeling that I’d never really got to know anyone. Particularly the main character, Hannah, as her own point of view is mainly only told through dialogue. It makes her feel a little distant and cold, as we rarely get to see inside her head and we only hear about the bad things she has done from other people. It doesn’t help you empathise with her, but maybe that was the point.

What the book does do well is explore the topic of alcoholism amongst youth, particularly young women, in Britain. Through his plethora of colourful characters, we gain a great perspective of alcoholism in today’s society, with thoughts from every part of the spectrum, from Hannah’s family to lawyers, nurses and psychologists, even through to a cleaning lady.

At times it does feel like Campbell is trying to ram the message down our throats a little, but he does make some interesting points. The chapter from the point of view of a TV journalist, for example, I found particularly interesting, as he finds his revealing expose on the ‘booze tsunami’ canned due to threats of cancelled advertising and sponsors. It indicated how much media may play a part in glamorising alcohol.

All in all, this is a clever, engaging story which does its bit to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol amongst young people. However, if you’re looking for a gripping, emotional story with a focus on characters, I don’t think “My Name Is…” is it. What it is is an examination of the subject of alcoholism in the UK. And, be warned, this book is quite depressing, – at parts it feels almost hopeless. Give it a read if you’d like to find out more about the subject, but I wouldn’t recommend reading it over the Christmas period like I did!
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on 24 October 2013
Very quick and easy to download , even for a new by like me.
I did enjoy the book although quite dark in places. Not a lot of laughs but a good I insight into why some turn to drink etc.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 15 September 2013
Alastair Campbell writes from life's experiences. This is a biting and fascinating account of an intelligent and attractive teenager thrust into the pits of alcoholism. Cleverly narrated through family, friends, counsellors and solicitors, Campbell builds up the layers of the multi-faceted decline of Hannah into her own world that affects herself and the many people who care. She takes her first drink when 12 and is 'seriously drunk' at 14. The author expertly narrates her descent into alcohol revealing, 'Drink, and why I do it, what it does to me, what it does to my friends when I'm doing it'. Her story is not one of a pitiless state nor remorse, more of the circumstances of an unsettled family background with a genetic influence that have eroded Hannah's talents, education and swimming with morals that fall by the wayside. Hannah is aware, unless intoxicated, of her state.

This is a vulnerable girl who has support and sympathy from those who know her and care whilst her life is thrown into the depths of the inevitable hazards that befall her. The chapter involving her interview with Q.C Julian is a mastery of a conversation concerning alcoholism.

Alastair Campbell has written a superb novel of the ease and slide that a young, talented, likeable girl can slip into addiction. It is not written in a judgemental way. It is just written in an accomplished style that the reader can understand and relate to. No doubt it will be relevant to an older generation with eyes open. An excellent and hard-hitting story.
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on 19 January 2014
A cleverly written story told from many peoples perspectives about Hannah Maynard, who suffers from alcoholism. As the story progresses you find yourself really feeling for Hannah and the situation she finds herself in. I couldn't put the book down and really wanted to know how it all turned out in the end. What struck me whilst reading the book, is how hard it must be for someone suffering from alcoholism in today's society, much of which is geared around the ready supply of it. The day to day fight to resist the urge and succumb to the needs must be so hard, and I couldn't help feeling as I read the book how much more support is needed. I have been a big fan of Alastair Campbell's previous books, they tackle proper issues in a powerful way that keeps you wanting to read more and this book delivers the same, a must read in my opinion.
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on 27 April 2014
This was an excellent read. Written by Alistair Campbell a recovering alcoholic, though I have read he is drinking in a controlled manner again. The story is written from several different perspectives by the people who come into contact with her, and therefore can tell the continuing story from a different viewpoint. The story is probably an all too familiar story, and I though the comparison between Trixie's journey to Fairburn Court, and Hannah's particularly poignant, also the very thin line between alcoholism and social drinking as illustrated by Mr Harper on his arrival home for his usual G and T.
This is the third novel I have read by Alistair Campbell,I have yet to read his diaries, but so far for me he achieved 66.3% success rate. A book to read, enjoy and contemplate.
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on 11 October 2013
This is the best fictional book about the disease of addiction/ alcoholism that I have ever read. I have read a great number of non fiction and fictional books on the subject over the last twenty years and this stands apart. It tells the story of a child moving towards her chosen drug of addiction and how it affects not only her but those who are involved with her along the way.
I would recommend this book to addicts, particularly alcoholics in recovery and anyone who is, or has been, a part of an alcoholic's life. Alastair Campbell has written with incredible insight and understanding of the disease of addiction. It touched my Soul
A recovering alcoholic
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on 9 December 2014
Brilliant piece of writing. Imaginative use of many characters in the story so it is understood from a number of aspects. The fact that AC has personal experience shows through and adds to the authenticity of the writing. I'm pleased he did not try to make it partisan - as we all know politicians on all sides are very reluctant to overtly attack the alcohol industry. Not only is it very powerful internationally but it helps to finance governments everywhere through taxation. It is clear though that the industry should take a more responsible lead in preventing the disease of alcoholism - with encouragement by government where they fall short.
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on 4 January 2014
I read "My Name Is" in two sittings and found myself completely absorbed in what is an uncomfortably frank account of a teenager's descent into alcoholism - told by
those closest to her. It's raw it's heart breaking and most of all it brings home to us just how devastating alcohol can be and how it can wreck relationships and tear a family apart. Alcohol is alluring but its tentacles drag us deeper and deeper into despair. This very well written book engaged me from the very beginning and I recommend it highly to anyone who wants to gain a deeper insight into alcoholism and its impact on us all.My Name Is...
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on 13 September 2013
The novel takes the slightly unusual structure of telling Hannah's story through the eyes of those around her, I was sceptical at first but it's a device that works extremely well in this case. As with the author's previous novels the characters are well drawn, realistic and whilst some of the language made me squirm it was what I would expect the character to say.

The novel draws the reader in from the influence of Hannah's parents through her seemingly endless promises to change. You feel the frustration of those around Hannah, but can't help wanting to reach out to her. It's a story which truly sees the full picture of the effect of alcohol on society.

Campbell has become a truly accomplished novelist with "My Name Is", his writing is wonderfully descriptive and there are some very entertaining moments in what could have been a very dark morbid tale.

It's a wonderful snapshot of humanity, leaving you looking at your nightly "tipple" in a very different light.
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