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All in the Mind Hardcover – 30 Oct 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson; 1st edition (30 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091925789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091925789
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 787,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A most vivid portrait of the darkness of mental illness, yet ultimately life-affirming rather than depressing' -- Scotland on Sunday, November 2, 2008

'A serious subject adddressed with compassion, intelligence and sensitivity...this is an emotionally engaging and thought-provoking book' -- The Times, November 1, 2008

'An extraordinarily open and brave novel about weakness...its power comes from a clearly articulated insight into the darker workings of the human mind' -- Mirror, November 1, 2008

'Campbell knows his business, which is telling well-paced and compelling stories...the novel succeeds because of the clarity of his reporter's prose' -- Financial Times, November 1, 2008

'One of the few books that has brought me close to tears in places, yet it is surprisingly uplifting and often very funny' -- Mail on Sunday, November 2, 2008

'A brilliant debut novel ... a compelling and unforgettable experience' -- Stephen Fry

'A moving and compelling story ... authentic and impressive' -- Nicholas Coleridge

'I loved this book' -- Anne Robinson

`...Extremely absorbing, moving and compassionate portrayal of ordinary human beings exhibiting extraordinary courage in challenging circumstances...If Campbell writes more novels, I'll certainly read them...' -- Christina Patterson, INDEPENDENT, 31/10/08

Review

'One of the few books that has brought me close to tears in places, yet it is surprisingly uplifting and often very funny'

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a person that has suffered depression in the past and as someone that treats clients that are currently battling their way through mental health issues, I found this book to be a fascinating insight into the world of sufferers and into the potential problems that the professionals that treat them may obtain through their working life.

For me the book was excellent and somewhat important. You see, as a therapist one of the challenges in treating people with depression, is the way that people react to their illnesses (sometimes not even seeing them as ill at all, but attention seeking). For far too long many people have been misunderstood when they convey to friends and family that they are suffering from a mental health issue such as depression. This book would certainly help to educate those friends and family members that are willing to be open minded and to learn.

All of the story lines from the various characters were handled with respect and where delivered very interestingly.

I am looking forward to this becoming a film on the small screen sometime in the future and awaiting eagerly the announcement of Campbell's next novel.

I would be interested to hear the views of other therapists or sufferers of mental health issues on this book.

Warmly,

Richard MacKenzie
Author of Self-Change Hypnosis
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Format: Hardcover
To be honest I've never liked Alastair Campbell. But I'm not interested in the author, I'm reviewing the book.

Also, for the record, I'm Bipolar 1.

At times the book made me laugh outload, and at other times you can't help feel a strong connection to the characters who are having a bad time.
I found the end of the book uplifting, and it has made me see the people in the mental health services in a more positive light.

This book should be compulsory reading for those who secretly think that depressives are just 'weak people', and come out with stupid phrases like 'pull yoursel together'. Intelligent people will enjoy it too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book; the first for a long time that has kept me up at night wanting to know what happens next. The characters lingered on in my head long after I had finished reading which to me is the sign of a good novel.

As a psychotherapist myself, I think Alastair Campbell has enormous insight into the vulnerability and fragility that can exist side by side, no doubt influencing and enhancing a therapist's work. Dr Sturrock is very much a wounded healer, loved and respected by his patients, but with his own angels and demons.

The patients are described vividly in all their humanity and ring true as people.

I think Alastair Campbell has used his own experience of depression in a very creative way. I hope he wil write some more fiction basd on fact. I for one will be eager to read it.
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Format: Hardcover
The former spin-doctor for the Labour government and writer of the generally well-received work of non-fiction THE BLAIR YEARS now turns his hand to writing a novel for the first time, and in doing so reveals some of the vices of his own past in a story that has acknowledged adaptations of autobiographical events. Drawing on personal experiences of depression and alcoholic addiction, All in the Mind explores mental illness and alcoholism by way of a cast of a psychiatrist and six of his patients spread over a period of just four days. Central character Professor Martin Sturrock harbours secrets of his own and it emerges that he is as desperate for help as his patients, one of whom is a politician with drinking problems and another is someone who has a psychotic breakdown similar to an experience the author suffered some twenty years ago.

Cynics might argue that this is not in fact Campbell's first stab at fiction and that he should be credited with the infamous `dodgey dossier' of 2003 that led to the invasion of Iraq, even if he was later officially exonerated. This new novel won't attract any allegations of scandalous untruth made against it, and while it feels authentic - the author having experienced most of these personal problems directly or indirectly - there is something of a dramatic void with regard to the narration and the reader might sense that Campbell could have dropped to deeper and darker depths of his soul in describing the stresses that the various characters endure. In his own life he has presumably come out of the darkness and up into the light a survivor, and possibly as a consequence the general flavour of the story is not the one of hopelessness or despair that might otherwise have tugged more passionately at the reader's heartstrings.
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Format: Hardcover
My question is, does "All in the Mind" live up to the sensitivity and insight shown in the documentary "Cracking Up"?

"All in the Mind" is a novel about a psychiatrist and six patients, whose lives interweave with his own. Like all first novels, it owes a lot to autobiography. Alistair Campbell's own interest in psychiatry stems from his experiences openly and frankly described in "Cracking Up".

The central character, Professor Sturrock is a likeable character who cares more about his patients lives than his personal life, for which he pays the unavoidable price. The Professor has a humanistic approach to psychiatry rather than the "Give them drugs and see if they need sectioning" of modern NHS psychiatric service. As a result there are plenty of details of the lives these people, to which Professor Sturrock responds with everyday, formulaic advice. The advice such as "write down your goals", "do not be afraid to do what you want", combined with weekly homework for his patients, might as well come from a life coach,.

The theme of the book is people, and how they respond to events in their lives, rather than choosing the lives they lead. It is not obvious why Alistair Campbell wrote this book, other than these stories needed to a voice.

The book is important because of the background against which it was written and what it tells us about Campbell's role in government. Sturrock has a lot in common with Campbell. Sturrock is a man who hears peoples' confessions but has limited power to improve their lot beyond offering bland advice, regular meetings and even, when required sanctuary in his own home.

His patients include the David, the humble factory worker, whose final eulogy has a lesson for us all.
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