Someone suggested to me last week that perhaps I had started studying creative writing in order to find expression for some of the stresses in my life which would otherwise remain bottled up. Actually I started writing seriously at a time when life was as stable as it gets here, and it was just a way of being able to fulfil a very longheld ambition.
But having now read When the Bough Breaks by Julia Hollander, I can see that writing the book must have been cathartic for her. A means of trying to justify to herself the decision to abandon her profoundly disabled daughter in hospital at the age of five months, as soon as a formal diagnosis was received. I can't imagine why else she wrote the book, as neither she nor her partner are portrayed in a very sympathetic manner. In publishing this memoir she has opened up to very public media scrutiny an area of their lives which perhaps should have been kept behind closed doors for now, if only for the sake of their other young children.
It is a very well written book, but an uncomfortable read, which at times is all too brutally honest. I'm not judging her actions, she was clearly unwell and under great stress with little support and none of us can second guess how we might have reacted in that situation. After all, unconditional parenting does not come naturally to everyone.
I have to admit though, that the only thing that made me read to the end was the fact that I know there is a happy ending for Hollander's daughter Imogen. For Julia Hollander herself, however, I'm not so sure.
Three notable things:
1. I bought three tops for £9 in the M&S sale yesterday. Two I love, one I'm slightly less sure of, but what a bargain!
2. The French Market was in town. It is always fun to browse around, even in the rain.
3. I've pre-booked for the new level three OU Advanced Creative Writing course which starts in the autumn.