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Sunbathing in the Rain: A Cheerful Book About Depression

by Gwyneth Lewis

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1161200,454 (3.6)7
This title tackles the subject of depression, an illness that seems to be the defining malaise of the early 21st century. The overall structure of the book moves from dark to light, telling the story of the author's recovery, its different strands allow a variety of tones and subjects to be explored, from the profound to the frivolous.… (more)
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This is a book that is difficult to explain, because there are so many elements scattered through it. Essentially it was intended as 'the first truly undogmatic, undemanding, downright useful companion to depression.' This, I have to say, it is not, and perhaps my expectations in this direction go some way to explaining my disappointment with the book.

To give Lewis fair credit, this is an original and sometimes inspiring book. It combines passages of autobiographical material with snippets of newspaper clippings, lists, advice and inspirational quotes, ostensibly to make it easier to read and process during a depressive episode. But I didn't find the quotations she chose particularly memorable or profound, and some of the clippings were obviously meant to be pertinent rather than amusing. I did recognise some of myself in her memoirs, and there are some unique and thoughtful ideas and observations to be found.

However, I didn't like the sickly, stifling tang of religion and self-righteousness and spirituality - I found it offputting - and sometimes the prose descends into self-obsession and self-conscious poetry. OK for a quick read but if you're depressed, I recommend looking elsewhere. ( )
1 vote elliepotten | Jun 10, 2009 |
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This title tackles the subject of depression, an illness that seems to be the defining malaise of the early 21st century. The overall structure of the book moves from dark to light, telling the story of the author's recovery, its different strands allow a variety of tones and subjects to be explored, from the profound to the frivolous.

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