OUTSIDE, THE SKY IS BLUE is a richly detailed memoir of heartbreak and mental illness and sadness, and about finding your way through grief. But at heart, it is a joyful book about love and about family, and what it's like being the last one left
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
Patterson is a passionate, funny woman who refuses simply to struggle on. She believes in living. And throwing parties. And friendship - Sunday Times
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
- Julia Samuel, author of Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass
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
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
A beautifully written and uplifting memoir about love and loss - and finding the resolve to carry on - The Times
Patterson invests her case histories with such intelligent passion and cracking candour that you feel as if you are listening to your cleverest, funniest and, above all, kindest friend - Mail on Sunday