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Cultivating Mad Cow Paperback – 28 May 2015
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Thankyou for sharing your story Kathryn x
This book is as important to professionals, academics, and those in training for example, Social Work, Medicine, Nursing, just as much as those who have an interest in life, society and mental distress.
Whilst there are many books and journal articles on Bipolar, mental distress, trauma and/or psychosis, there are few written with the dedication and insight Kathryn shows. This important narrative, written in a style that is accessible to all, opens the door on a subject and experience that is ordinarily private or disregarded - giving the reader the privilege of understanding rarely available.
Her heart is big enough to hold the entire world together. And she's blessed - some might say cursed - with a sense of humour that's constantly on a grand tour of places and themes that other folk simply can't - and daren't - visit! What's more, she's an outrageously gifted - some might say giftedly outrageous - storyteller with a style and a rhythm, entirely personal to her, that deliciously and addictively draws the reader in.
For those reasons and more, Kathryn is just about the easiest person to make - and stay - friends with. So far, so good.
But Kathryn couldn't be friends with herself, and that's precisely why Cultivating Mad Cow is more than just a book. It's a journey, her journey, and Kathryn makes darn well sure that you're right there with her - page by page, line by line, word by word. You're clinging onto the front seat of an unpredictable rollercoaster, going back and forward in time, laughing and crying (often all at once), hearing different voices and never ever sure about where reality ends and fantasy begins.
On another level, it's a journey where love, lust and duty, individuals and institutions get into a right stew with each other - usually, but not always, because of the author's bipolarism. Comedy, tragedy, social workers, shrinks, the police, doctors and nurses, cigarettes and alcohol, the local media, Jesus Christ, a monumental phallus and - crucially - Barry White (but not that Barry White) all grapple to take centre stage.
More importantly, Cultivating Mad Cow is about miracles. More importantly still, these miracles aren't religious, but deeply and wonderfully human. The narrative revolves around Kathryn's much-publicised suicide attempt, the things that led up to it, and how the process of reconstructing her shattered body helped her become friends with herself and those around her.
So if being real, honest and fun is where you're at - or better still, where you'd like to be at - rush to buy a copy of Cultivating Mad Cow and make Kathryn your friend! What's more, it might just help you to become friends with yourself!
Real. Refreshingly real. Really f*****g real. So read it. I might be slightly biased because I know and like Kathryn and live in the town where most of this happened and some of it is still on the national and local news websites too.. but anyway, I'm also saving the fifth star for her next book!
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Highly recommend anyone and everyone to read this book.