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on 4 November 2013
Don't let your personal opinion of A. Campbell put you off reading his books. Alastair writes well and seems to know the humans and their many flaws. The book is amongst other things a thoughtful look into mental health related issues.

Definitely worth reading.
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on 25 March 2014

Cover 4/5 Title, Author's name as an attractor and ghostly face ... yes a good cover. Cover comments by Stephen Fry and Anne Robinson made me buy the book and what is stated on the cover is for a change accurate in the reading.


Given previous association of author with Tony Blair rather wary but as with Jeffrey Archer one cannot deny both their skill with words and I have liked seeing him on Anne Robinson's book programme. The character structure used in this book I find very good. Lots of people in glass houses. Good ingredients mixed skillfully in some thought provoking situations and peoples' reactions to both physical and mental damage. Interesting to compare this supposed fiction with Declan Henry's Why Bipolar case studies the Allrighters non fiction book of 2013. Clearly some real people being characterised here, including the author.

Book started on a real high, but has leveled out a little so I read on in high hopes of a satisfactory middle and ending ...

In running for Allrighters fiction book of 2014

Finished 27 3 14

... Continued going downhill until a pick up the last quarter. Itoo have often wondered how medical people cope with the offloading of their patients' problems and trauma.

Still a good read but fell short of the expected five star rating I thought it might reach at the start of reading. A little worried about reading a book about depression I might as a reader suffer increased levels of depression. The characterisations and interactions rang quite true.

I need to think a little more about the book. Saying a book about depression is enjoyable or entertaining does not feel quite right although I chuckled at some of the text and situations. An educational and thought provoking read may be nearer the mark complimentary, as mentioned before, to the difficult case studies in Declan Henry's Why Bipolar?

Alexander of Allrighters, Leamington Spa Writers and Ywnwab!
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on 15 September 2013
I really enjoyed Alastair Campbell's first stab at fiction. He shows great insight into the sufferings and traumas that people face when dealing with life changing experiences in their life's-rape, alcoholism, slave prostitution and mental instability. He also gives a great insight into a person, who at the heart of things is a kind person,but gives all his energies and compassion to his patients, and forgets his own family. All the knowledge gained in his professional training and practice is lost or exhausted in his own life and environs. Alistair Campbell writes with a great deal of empathy, and though the novel does not end up so well for Professor Martin Sturrock,he appears to improve for his patients who eventually come to terms with their treatment, and remedies.
This is a very enjoyable read, and not,as I thought probable, bogged down in political skulduggery. It is well worth reading.
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on 9 April 2009
I was surprised by the power and emotion of Alastair Campbell's first novel which is about a psychiatrist, Sturrock, who treats a number of extremely difficult cases: a former prostitute, a manic depressive, a wife who has been raped in her own home, and a pretty girl who has been badly scarred in a fire. Sturrock is a good psychiatrist and appears to 'cure' his patients, but he himself is sick: he visits prostitutes, his marriage is in a terrible state, and he is alienated from his adult children. The novel is compelling because of the way Campbell has entered the minds of his characters with his deceptively simple but readable prose. He has an eye for the small, domestic details which are so important in people's lives. A compassionate wisdom permeates the book, a humility even. I was surprised because he has such an aggressive persona himself. The suicide at the end of the book made me wonder whether the death of David Kelly changed Campbell; there is none of the bravado you'd expect from him. This is not a machismo novel in any way; more a deconstruction of masculinity. I was very drawn to one passage which the manic depressive writes towards the end of the book. In it he says: "I am as important as you are...You are as important as I am. We are all important to ourselves and to the people who matter to us...Humility is knowing we are all as important as each other. And even the ones we think are really important, the ones we see on the TV or put on pedestals, in the grand sweep of history, and amid the great forces of nature, they are grains of sand."
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on 7 February 2016
Alastair has real insight. If you're struggling, you'll find some comfort in this book. If not, I hope you'll learn a lot about mental health problems and help to reduce the stigma that surrounds them.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 28 August 2012
So - can Tony Blair's spin-master write? Yes he can. He portrays his central character as a caring psychiatrist, Martin Sturrock, who has plenty of his own problems. As well as a failing marriage (and absolutely everyone in this book has a failing marriage) he is spiralling downwards into depression while trying to treat his patients, be a good father, and try to stop his addiction to prostitutes.

Somehow, the problem of a man in such a conflicted state - one of his patients is the victim of a rapist, another has been rescued from a forced prostitution racket - carries the guilt of his own hidden failings which are slowly eating him away from the inside. Ironically, it appears, as he disintegrates many of his patients seem to be recovering. Emily, a young girl caught in a fire, her beauty marred by third degree burns to one side of her face, finds that she can face the world again and doesn't have to hide away. A drink-sodden cabinet minister is safely salted away in a clinic. And a young man learns that being humble can be a good thing.

I felt the ending was a bit self-serving a bit too slavishly eulogistic - wasn't there anyone who didn't like Sturrock? I wasn't too keen on him myself, given the central concept that this was a serial client of prostitutes who was simultaneously treating women who had experienced rape/forced prostitution. There`s an uncomfortable juxtaposition for you.
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on 8 February 2012
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. When you start reading the background and description of the main character, Martin Sturrock, and his patients, you find yourself getting drawn into their lives, and you start to feel a connection to each and follow their story threads through.
Martin is the Psychiatrist, and it starts out with you thinking he has everything going well and leading a happy and settled life. The longer the book goes on, the more you realise, that like everyone else, he had his demons and flaws, and infact it turns out that depression hits him hard and quickly, so much so that up until the event, you don't think he would go through with suicide.
The ironies are there and shout out at you. Here we are with a psychiatrist who listens to everyone's problems and issues and advises them on how they deal with them, giving his patients an outlet for their problems, and yet who does the psychiatrist turn to. The fact that he doesn't feel loved by those closest to him, his family, is ironic, when at his funeral, the church is packed by all those who have relied on him so much. Stella his wife said many years ago that he has time for all his patients and yet he doesn't give the time to his family and this is played out at the funeral when all his patients and colleagues stand up during the ceremony, and it is Stella and the family who feel like they are the ones on the outside.
Of the patients, the two who come across to me the strongest are David Temple, and Ralph Hall, both of whom have powerful storylines of their own. David suffers from depression and with the help of Martin Sturrock finds the strength to write his piece about humility, which Martin reads and finds that of all his patients it is David who can relate most to his own problems.
Ralph Hall, the minister for health, is an alcoholic and leads, what comes out as a very sordid and sad life. It just goes to show that for the people who we think have everything going for them, they are actually carrying round a lot of issues themselves. The book details Ralph's fall from grace and subsequent hitting rock bottom, yet at the end at the funeral, he has found the strength, thanks to Martin, to admit to his alcoholism, tackle it head on, and dedicate his fight and cure to Martin. We are left feeling hope for both Ralph and David.
My lasting thoughts on this are that you never truly know what is going on in people's lives and minds, whatever the outward appearance maybe. What everyone needs though is someone to talk to for support, love and to share their problems with.
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on 27 February 2010
I had heard quite a lot of positive comments about this first novel of Alastair Campbell, particularly the insight it might provide to mental illness. Certainly the setting provides a vehicle for bringing a variety of desperate conditions to the fore through the individual patients of psychiatrist Professor Martin Sturrock. He also reveals his own weaknesses but with the difference that he seeks no therapist for himself.

I found parts of the book extremely moving and I wanted to read more. The rapid descent of Sturrock towards the end of the book was riveting. However, the apparent desire to round off neatly the stories of the six patients, together with the widespread respect for Sturrock despite his failings, seemed a too hopeful attempt at a happy ever after ending. Somehow it just did not ring true. So despite the promise, on balance I wouldn't search the bookshelves for a second Campbell novel.
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on 8 April 2014
Psychologists bear our burdens, but in turn they sacrifice a part of their own sanity. Campbell provides an interesting insight into the mind of not just the many patients, but more importantly the therapist himself. The human mind can be destructive if you let it overcome you. A thought provoking psychological whirlwind which I highly recommend. It's subtle yet effective.
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on 3 April 2009
I've experienced depression and I've experienced psychosis and I was keen to read ALL IN THE MIND. The book is beautifully written and I found it totally absorbing. I was struck by how compassionately and sensitively Alastair Campbell writes about mental trauma, from the point of view of the patients and of the therapist. I found the book very moving and very powerful. Highly recommended. More please.
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