Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

My Mother the Psychopath – Olivia Rayne

Non Fiction
4*s

I don’t typically go for the ‘misery memoir’ genre of reading because quite frankly I find much of the books that proliferated at the peak of its popularity grim, unrelenting and almost voyeuristic. However when the contents move away from a catalogue of actions to something more thoughtful, an exploration of a person, well I find that fascinating.

Olivia Rayne always knew as she was growing up that other mothers didn’t behave like hers but it was probably more of a slow realisation to making the leap to giving her the diagnosis of a psychopath. This term is thrown about with a fair degree of abandon these days, thanks in part to the popularity of Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test which educated the population that not all psychopaths are serial killers, in fact the vast majority move among us.

Mothering though is generally accepted to require all the good skills, protecting, nurturing, and caring which don’t square with what comes naturally to the psychopath. This of course means any child born to such a parent, and you could argue particularly if it is the mother who is wired in this way, is going to suffer to some degree. Coupled as these people often are to weak and ineffectual partners and the result is disaster.

Rayne heads up each chapter to her memoir with a description of one of the 20 accepted psychopathic traits and then follows it with an example of her life with her mother. Some of these events took place when Olivia was a small child, some more recently but many show that the face presented to the world was far from that which she used to scare and humiliate her daughter away from the public gaze. Of course this methodology also allows the reader to make a judgement on the truth of what we are being told in a way that a list of awful events is less likely to have the same impact on the reader.

The book is also testament to that movement that I am desperately hoping will gather pace. Olivia isn’t using what happened to her in childhood as a reason for behaving like a victim. She’s hidden her identity in part so that she can continue working amongst her peers without the prurient details defining her for ever more. Most fascinating of all was the discovery that Olivia had broken ranks on the silence of her childhood a couple of years ago when she submitted an article about her mother to an online paper. The reaction was in line with that which had occurred when she initially broke off contact, a ceaseless barrage of emails in turns abusive and appealing, not just to Olivia herself but to her boss, colleagues and friends.

With a definite feeling that this book is both putting the past behind her and reaching out to others who are in this little studied relationship and giving a feeling of hope for a different type of life. For that you can only applaud this brave author.

I’d like to say a big thank you to Ebury Press who allowed me to read a copy of My Mother the Psychopath. This unbiased review is my thanks to them.

First Published UK: 24 January 2019
Publisher: Ebury Press
No of Pages: 336
Genre: Non-Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (December 2)

Another busy week where winter has tried to make its mark with it feeling markedly colder, at least at times.

Well here we are already in December and seemingly hurtling towards Christmas! Yes, already!

 

I had a good shot at using the Gutenberg editor this week – not entirely without success, but with enough problems given that to make things easy for myself, I already had a methodology which isn’t aligned to the new system of blocks – for now I’ve switched back to the classic editor.

 

This Week on the Blog

I started this week’s posts with the results from the 19th Classic Club Spin in which I discovered that I have the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s to read Not bad going seeing as this was supposed to be a chunkster!

My first review of the week was for a book from my own bookshelf, A Fractured Winter by Alison Baillie, a story of past actions having consequences in the present, set mainly in the Swiss Alps.

My second review was for The Lost Man by Jane Harper which is another raw story from this author and also set in the Australian outback.

This shortened week was rounded off with my Five of the Best for November 2014 to 2018 – I do love these posts which never fail to remind me of some of the fantastic books I’ve discovered in recent years.

This Time Last Year…

I was gearing up for Christmas by reading a book on my favourite subject, Poison. Poison Panic by Helen Barrell details the panic caused in Essex by the seemingly unstoppable rise of poisoners, particularly women poisoners!

Helen Barrell’s book, Poison Panic, delves into the facts, and the fiction, of these events using all available sources to examine the cases and to evaluate whether there was any sense of collusion between the women whose crimes feature here. She’s picked three notable women from the area Sarah Chesham Mary May and Hannah Southgate whose crimes in rural Essex led to wariness about that gentle hand at home who was in charge of preparing the food could also be slipping some of the notorious white powder into the dish!

A fascinating read which not only is informative about the women featured within the book but also gives a sense of the life and times within which they lived, and allegedly murdered!

You can read my original review here or click on the book cover

Blurb

For a few years in the 1840s, Essex was notorious in the minds of Victorians as a place where women stalked the winding country lanes looking for their next victim to poison with arsenic. It’s a terrible image – and also one that doesn’t seem to have much basis in truth – but this was a time of great anxiety.

The 1840s were also known as the ‘hungry ’40s’, when crop failures pushed up food prices and there was popular unrest across Europe. The decade culminated in a cholera epidemic in which tens of thousands of people in the British Isles died. It is perhaps no surprise that people living through that troubled decade were captivated by the stories of the ‘poisoners’: that death was down to ‘white powder’ and the evil intentions of the human heart.

Sarah Chesham, Mary May and Hannah Southgate are the protagonists of this tale of how rural Essex, in a country saturated with arsenic, was touched by the tumultuous 1840s. Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

In keeping with the festive spirit I am delighted to have received a copy of My Mother, the Psychopath by Olivia Rayne, which is to be published by Ebury Press on 24 January 2019.



Blurb

‘When people met her they thought how lovely she was, this attractive woman with a beautiful laugh. But she was one person in public and another behind closed doors. Who would she be today? The loving mother? The trusted teacher? The monster destroying my life?’

Olivia has been afraid ever since she can remember. Out of sight, she was subjected to cruelty and humiliation at the hands of the one person who should have loved and protected her at all times – her mother, Josephine.

While appearing completely normal to the outside world, Josephine displayed all the signs of being a psychopath – unbeknown to her daughter until adulthood – and Olivia grew up feeling scared, worthless and exploited. Even when she found the courage to cut ties, her mother found new ways to manipulate and deceive, attempting to destroy her life with a vicious campaign of abuse.

Now Olivia has come to terms with her past and gives a fascinating, harrowing and deeply unsettling insight into what it’s like growing up with a psychopathic parent. Amazon

I have also been extremely fortunate to receive a copy of the latest book by Fiona Barton, the author of The Widow and The Child, both of which I really enjoyed. The Suspect will be published on 24 January 2019 by Random House UK.



Blurb

‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . . NetGalley

And waiting in the wings for my pleasure is The Long Divorce by Edmund Crispin a book I simply had to buy having had such fun reading The Moving Toyshop earlier this year.

Blurb

The peaceful and prosperous village of Cotten Abbas has a very unpleasant problem.

Long inhabited by a collection of proudly offbeat locals, there has been a recent influx of the newly rich and very well to do… and not everyone is happy about it.

New arrivals are receiving anonymous letters that know a little too much about dark secrets and dirty laundry and they don’t seem likely to stop.

Gervase Fen is summoned to the scene, but soon finds more than he bargained for. A suicide on Friday, a murder by Sunday, and some villagers that seem hell bent on keeping this mystery unsolved… Amazon

What have you found to read?

tbr-watch

Having done a quick compare with the TBR from last year, I’m still down although it has risen slightly to a healthy 168
Physical Books – 112
Kindle Books – 36
NetGalley Books –19
Audio Books –1

 

I have added one reviews of my own books since my last count 3 full book tokens!