Intelligent in some ways and helpless in others, likeable, but not always easy to handle, he is a challenge for some.
As one reviewer put it:
“Charles has a noticeably atypical mind, perhaps mild autism and most certainly bipolar disorder. Since childhood, he has struggled to exist in a world created by and for “normal”, or what some call neuro-typical people, a world he cannot always understand and which most people take for granted.”
‘Dealing’ with difficult people may just be a lack of education and awareness. How do we view these people? As dangerous? As mad? As hopeless cases that should be locked away?
Another quote from a thoughtful review of Conditions:
“Even in 2014, mental illness is still highly misunderstood and heavily stigmatized. Often, there seems to be two main reactions to those suffering mental illness—either withdraw in fear and disgust, or challenge the notion that sufferers of psychiatric disorders are legitimately ill, and rather blame them for their problems. At the basis of these misconceptions is ignorance, shrouded in fear.”
Charles cares for his friends and has a lot of positive qualities, if you stick around long enough to find them. A passionate gardener, flamboyant, excitable and at times obsessive, thoughtful and gentle, he can be many things at once. He doesn’t find tolerance, understanding and acceptance everywhere, although he finds it in often unexpected places. I hope Charles can give food for thought and challenge our views on and our awareness of mental health.
“Madness is a completely undervalued quality and I don’t understand why people should hide it to conform to some boring version of themselves.”
The book is out tomorrow, October 16th and is available for pre-order now.
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When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family. The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside. Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast. Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.