Friday 20 June 2014

Review: The skeleton cupboard by Dr Tanya Byron

I have always loved reading ever since I was a child I have loved nothing more than getting lost in a good book but now that I am a mum of two soon to be three, I find that I rarely get the time to indulge in my passion for reading books. However, I was recently lucky enough to be sent a copy of The skeleton cupboard a new book by Dr Tanya Byron by Mumsnet book club and I couldn't wait to have a read.

The Skeleton Cupboard Book

I use to love watching Dr Tanya Byron's program's on t.v the house of tiny tearaways and little angels were must-see viewing for me as a parent a few year's ago. So I was expecting the book to be along the lines of children behaviour problem's etc. But when the book arrived I realised that this book was totally different and it was actually about her time as a trainee clinical psychologist in the 1990's in a range of different settings such as a hospital outpatient psychiatric department, a residential child crisis unit, G.P surgery, eating disorder unit, substance misuse and a geriatric home. Each chapter of the book covers one of these setting's and the challenges and 'patients' she meets during her training. It seems so real and autobiographical as it is written in the first person but it's not real at all as all of the characters and situations in the book are fictional.

I quickly become totally absorbed in this book, I literally could not put it down and I was fascinated by the characters that Tanya encounters in each chapter. The book is so well written that the characters come to life and I actually felt sorry for some of them and read on with a lump in my throat when a 12-year-old girl wanted to kill herself and I was hoping that she would have a happy ever after. Having worked within mental health and with people with learning disabilities myself I could totally relate to a lot of the situations and the story's in this book but I am sure that anyone with not the hint of this world would totally understand and get drawn into this book also.

As I mentioned each chapter of the book follows Tanya throughout her training to be a clinical psychologist and the first chapter is set in her very first placement while a trainee in a psychiatric outpatient department in a hospital. It tell's of her first day nerves, patients she meets and her fears, mistakes and hopes she has while such an inexperienced student. And so the book goes on with each chapter based in a different setting she worked in during her three years training and we get to know more of Tanya throughout the book and to see her confidence grow. We meet some amazing characters throughout the book who you will feel sorry for, angry at, disappointed with and amazed by. Every chapter left me wanting to know more and for the story to continue while also being eager to read and discover the characters in the next chapter. I really could not put the book down and dipped into it whenever I had the chance.

This book really got me thinking, the characters are so believable you could relate to some of them and they made me think of people I had met myself during my work in mental health and during my everyday life. The job of a clinical psychologist is not something that you hear a lot of in everyday life but this book opens your eyes to what a difficult, yet rewarding and fascinating, yet complex job this can be. Tanya is so honest and down to earth in this book and you learn so much about her and her past and how she got to where she is today. You start to feel like you know her, like she is a friend telling you their secrets even though a lot of this book and all of the characters are fictional.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who fancy's a good read, yes it can be sad and thought-provoking but it so beautifully is written you will be left wanting more.

* Disclosure: I was sent this book for free by Mumsnet book club for the purpose of this review but all opinions in this post are my own honest account of this book.

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