When I first read the blurb for Dear Dee I have to admit it wasn’t the sort of book I would normally pick up and the issue of mental health made me question whether I would enjoy reading it.
However, I’m so pleased that I did read it, the subject was dealt with in a compassionate and sensitive way showing how both mental and physical illnesses touch the lives of each member of a family and how they react as individuals and as a family unit.
Dear Dee is the story of a family, John and his wife Nickii together with their two grown up daughters Claire and Jackie, the latter who has suffered from mental illness for approximately 8 years. The story shows how the illness has affected them all and gives all four viewpoints, including that of Jackie, which I particularly found interesting and refreshing.
John feels frustrated that he cannot do what every father would want to for their child – to make things better and this continual emotional strain eventually takes it’s toll on his health. His wife, Nickii, feels helpless and is worried about the effect it is all having on John, while Claire carries a guilt with her from childhood about her feelings towards her sister. As for Jackie, all she wants is to be back to how she was before her illness; with her husband and children. Without giving the story line away, something happens which changes their lives completely and the family have to adjust and learn to deal with a different future.
The story is compelling, thought provoking and at times emotional, at one point I was blinking back the tears, but all dealt with in a caring and understanding way.
Full credit must be given to Sue Uden for the way she has tackled the delicate, little understood and often taboo subject of mental illness and its effects. Most of all though, the honest way this is portrayed through the intricacies of family relationships, their interactions and feelings towards each other must be commended.
Dear Dee is Sue’s first novel and she is a featured author with www.loveahappyending.com
Sue is a regular on Twitter and can also be found on Facebook .
You can find out more about Sue through her website www.sueuden.com