I am an avid reader and love books relating to science fiction, murder mystery and autobiographies.
The book that I have just read covers two of those topics.
Those who know me well will know that I am also an avid lover of the science fiction series Star Trek. I started to watch it when told about it by my best friend at school and from then on we often used to watch it together, usually at her parents house as they had a colour TV! Many years later we started going to Star Trek Conventions and still do. Whilst at one of these conventions I first came into contact with a man called John Carrigan. He was dressed in a Batman costume and was giving a demonstration of stunt work from what I recall. Later on at other conventions we were to meet up with him again, he was a guest speaker and would talk about how his love of Star Trek and martial arts (in particular Bruce Lee) had changed his life in a way that he had never imagined.
John has always been very approachable and happy to talk to fans about his varied careers which include martial arts expert, actor, stuntman, body-guard, it was only very recently that I associated him with being a writer.
At a recent convention as well as being a guest of honour John also had a table where he was selling and signing copies of his book The Other Side Of Harry. I had recently purchased a copy of the book via the internet for my fellow Trekkie friend’s Birthday and she had said how good it was so I took the opportunity of buying a copy at the convention.
Now you can see why this book covers two of the things I love – science fiction and autobiographies.
The book is centred around John’s family and his upbringing in London. In particular it is about John’s Father Harry, who they were soon to find out was suffering from schizophrenia. I am not going to go into detail, you really do need to get the book. What I am going to say is that from the moment I started reading this book I was compelled to carry on reading. Eventually I had to stop as tiredness took over but the next day I was back in our little Summer house in the garden reading avidly I finished it in two half days.
John writes with an easy style that makes you feel as if he is sitting right there in front of you telling you his story just as he does on the stage at conventions. He writes from the heart and you find yourself getting so involved with this family that you actually start to think of them as people you know, maybe neighbours.
There were times in the book when I was actually moved to tears and other times when I wanted to give his Mum, Maggie a big hug. There were times especially when Harry’s black moods were appearing and you knew something bad was going to happen, that I actually started to feel a sense of foreboding. Yet, despite all of the problems that Harry’s schizophrenia was causing I couldn’t help but warm to the man because when he was just himself he sounded like a man I would have loved to have known.
This is not a book about schizophrenia, if you wanted to know more about the actual condition itself you will need to look elsewhere. This book is about a family. A family who to the outside world were probably just ordinary working class Londoners. A family that held a dark secret. It is about a man who when not plagued by the demons in his head loved his family and I think was ashamed of what his illness was doing to them. It is about a woman’s love for her Husband a love that was tested time and time again and yet she remained faithful. It is about a Mother, struggling to keep her children safe during the dark times and how her cheerful optimism helped them through. It is about a young boy called John and the effects that living with a schizophrenic had on both himself and his Sister.
It is all of these things compiled into one compelling read but above all it has a message, a message that says never give up, never lose sight of your dreams and always believe in yourself. And in a nutshell that is what this book offers to the reader. It offers a ray of hope and instills the belief that no matter what life throws at you, you can work through it.
When listening to John chatting on the stage there is no hint of some of the things that he has been through. This is not a man prone to wearing sack cloth and ashes but rather a man proudly wearing a Star Trek uniform!
The book can be purchased directly from Amazon this link will take you to it CLICK HERE TO BE REDIRECTED TO AMAZON
You can also purchase as an E-book CLICK HERE
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