Can some crimes ever be forgiven?
Jane has been locked up in a secure psychiatric unit for killing her children. Well-meaning intervention by Dr Townsend forces her to explore the past, and in doing so she begins to discover reality can be unbearable. While attending her sister’s funeral, Jane escapes and goes back to the Belgian caravan site where she ended her children’s lives. She finally confronts her actions, but when she is brought back to the hospital fully aware of what she has done, she feels certain there’s only one way out.
Based on true accounts by staff and inmates, Losing It explores the process and costs of redemption for those who commit unspeakable acts.
Florence Knox –
As the blurb for Losing It explains, this is a book which “explores the process and costs of redemption for those who commit unspeakable acts”. I knew before I started reading that it was unlikely there would be a happy ending, but I still found it a gripping novel. Jane has been detained in a secure psychiatric unit for killing her children, and Losing It tells the story of her confrontation with a troubled past following intervention from a well-meaning doctor. The conclusion is perhaps inevitable, yet it is nevertheless shocking and thought-provoking.
Billie Stewart –
Losing It is the second of two new novels I’m reading this month which explore difficult themes centred around abuse, suicide and mental health issues. There is little in the way of hope to be found in this harrowing tale, yet it was nevertheless a compelling novel. Losing It is also well-grounded in reality, as it is based on true accounts written by psychiatric unit staff and patients, and the author is trained in psychotherapy and has worked extensively in the field herself. A very worthwhile read.
John Hargreaves (verified owner) –
Perhaps not surprisingly, given the author’s professional background working in mental health and access to true accounts by staff and inmates, Losing It creates a sense of daily life on a small ward for profoundly disturbed and dangerous patients that is deeply engaging. Layered on top of that is a first-person narrative by Jane – incarcerated forever for killing her two children – which is riveting. Strong feelings of sympathy for Jane and for those who care for her on the ward build as the story develops. It’s a real page turner whose conclusion seems as natural as it is inevitable.
Steve Jenkins (verified owner) –
A thoroughly good read. I can’t understand why others have only given it 4 stars. Maybe because they found the subject matter disturbing? Perhaps. I found it disturbing too, but also enthralling. Yes, it’s sad, but the subject matter could never be portrayed as anything else. In that world of such severe mental illness and criminal insanity, there is rarely room for hope. Telling the story from different points of view was really well done, and I read this book in about three sessions, I genuinely couldn’t put it down. The characters are layered, the storytelling is seductive in a way, it makes you want to know what happened next. How does that complete the story? But the next chapter has moved somewhere else, equally as enticing, until eventually the whole story comes together. It also portrays the difficult role of the professionals who try their best to help this group of patients. You almost feel exhausted on their behalf. It’s very relevant, given the poor state of mental health and social care provision in the NHS at this moment in time. All in all, I thoroughly recommend reading this book, you won’t be disappointed.
Colin Kirk (verified owner) –
Some vulnerable teenage girls are preyed on endlessly by family, partners and clients. In ‘Losing it’ the author writes sympathetically about what the trauma does to the victim. The reader develops a compassionate sympathy for the heroine, who hasn’t known a different life. She is admitted to a Medium Secure Unit for murdering her infant children. There we follow her through clinical settings from which she escapes back to the scenes of her trauma. Back on the ward she begins psychotherapy, which exposes the real person behind the trauma. Yes, she is losing it and commits suicide, but one is left with the notion she has found herself and her spirit will live on. Brilliantly and beautifully written, well worth reading.