Outside, the Sky is Blue
OUTSIDE, THE SKY IS BLUE is a beautifully drawn, heart-breaking yet also joyful memoir of growing up, of living with mental ill health and cancer, and of working out what it means to be in a family, what it means to lose a family – and what’s left when you’re the last one left.
When Christina Patterson’s brother Tom died very suddenly, she faced the harrowing task of clearing out his house. Tom had always been the one who held on to the family treasures and memories, but now Christina had to sift through box after box of letters, papers, photos and belongings, not just of Tom’s, but of their parents and their older sister, Caroline.
Those boxes, albums and papers tell the story of a young couple who decide, when their children are small, to swap a glamorous diplomatic life in Rome for a housing estate in Surrey. But their new suburban life, of trips to National Trust houses, fizzy drinks over TV costume drama and walks at Wisley Gardens, is increasingly disrupted by Caroline’s, erratic behaviour. As she is diagnosed with schizophrenia, Tom seeks solace in sport and Christina in a youth club where she hopes to meet boys, but finds God.
‘Patterson is a passionate, funny woman who refuses simply to struggle on. She believes in living. And throwing parties. And friendship’ Sunday Times
A bracing, heart-lifting read. Patterson is a superb writer - part of the redemptive message of this memoir is that beautiful prose can make almost anything bearable. Outside the Sky is Blue is a lesson in generosity, in accommodation, but most of all it's a lesson in resilience * Observer * Written with savage honesty about grief and sibling rivalry, this book slices deeply. A memoir about family loyalty and gut-wrenching goodbyes but it serves too as a wise guide from someone who has endured more than her share of life's slings and arrows, and has still come out swinging * Sunday Times (Culture) * A compelling memoir of faith, hope and loss. Her beautifully written and insightful account of a family living with mental and physical ill health * Daily Express * A hymn to optimism, and a beacon of unflagging hope * iPaper * A memoir about the loss of faith and hope. The book journeys to dark places but it's too honest and well written to be dispiriting - she perseveres in her quest to understand * Guardian * A superbly told, heart-buffeting memoir - a powerful account of how we carry the distress that life's blows cause to us; of how we keep sane and carry on; and of how love within a family can endure even the sternest tests * Bookseller, Book of the Month * Patterson has poured every ounce of love and compassion she possesses into this compelling memoir * Daily Mirror * 'I read this beautiful and exceptional book in one sitting' * Kate Mosse * A powerful and honest, personal memoir of love and loss * Woman's Own * She has a talent for vivid, visual description and writes about her sister's schizophrenia with candour and sensitivity * Spectator * Christina Patterson's beautifully written memoir spans all the emotions, from joyful to heart-breaking and back again * Choice magazine * A memoir full of wit, wisdom, tenderness and heart. Deeply moving on the devastating impact of childhood schizophrenia on a family. Christina Patterson writes so beautifully, and with searing honesty. I loved this book * Dr Rachel Clarke, author of Dear Life and Your Life in My Hands * Moving and ultimately uplifting and beautifully written * David Nicholls * She writes beautifully - crisp, yet emotional and page-turning. For me, it is something about her clarity and brutal honesty in describing both heartbreak and heart bursting life and love. In the end it is only the love that matters. Her memoir will give hope to those that are suffering and cannot see the light * Julia Samuel, author of Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass * Devastating, funny, wise, intimate and beautifully written. It's filled with empathy and light. This is a handbook for loving and living fully. The writing shines, celebrating life without ever shying away from the sharpness of grief and pain. It's truly life affirming, strengthening and hope filled. This book has never been more needed, it's essential reading for us all right now * Daisy Buchanan, author of Insatiable * Patterson is a passionate, funny woman who refuses simply to struggle on. She believes in living. And throwing parties. And friendship * Sunday Times * This is a beautiful book. Heartbreaking and heartwarming, it's an immersive family memoir that is deeply personal and yet somehow universal. Highly recommended * Adam Hamdy, author of Black 13 * A book about illness, both mental, in all its variety, and physical. One of the things that stands out is the tone, a crystal-clear capturing of intensity of feeling without resorting to hysteria or hyperbole * Strong Words magazine * This is a joyful book. Despite the sorrows, there is a determined joy to this tale, a pattern of finding the good despite the bad, of turning to face the sun so the shadows fall behind. It's a wonderful, heart-wrenching, compelling read * Dr Kathryn Mannix, author of With the End in Mind * All families have stories of mental health struggles but Christina and her family have had more than their fair share. She tells their story with candour and compassion. It makes for an intense and moving read. Having had a brother who had schizophrenia all his adult life I was especially struck by her portrayal of her sister Caroline. There is a lot of death and suffering in this book yet precisely because Christina is so candid and compassionate there is hope within it too. I am sure this will be a welcome addition to the books helping to break down stigma and taboo about mental illness * Alastair Campbell, author of Living Better * This is a profound and beautiful memoir. Anyone who reads it will go on an extraordinary journey - you will learn about a remarkable individual, and also about our shared humanity * Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections * A tender, candid, sometimes heartbreaking, ultimately joyful account of family life, overcoming illness and loss, and embracing happiness * Bookanista * 'Tremendous. For me, this is a book about forgiveness, but I think you can find what you want in it' * Suzanne Moore * A tender, funny chronicle of a loving family and the many sorrows and joys they endured . . . Exquisite, brave and highly recommended' * Independent.ie *
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