Struggling to cope with a tragic loss, Denis Murphy has learned to live a bit differently. Both his friends are used to it - the only problem is his monstrous housemates.
When his enigmatic ex-girlfriend comes back into his life, she threatens to shatter the finely crafted world around him.
As Denis begins to re-emerge from his sheltered existence and rediscover the person he used to be, things turn nasty, and he is forced to confront the demons that share not only his house, but also his head.
Many thanks to the publisher, Legend Press, for the proof copy. This review is my honest opinion.
My God but there are some good books out there this year. So far most of those I have read I have given a rating of either 4 or 5 out of 5. I keep thinking I'm giving too many 5 stars, but they really are that good. And Me, Myself and Them is no exception.
Actually, it is an exception. It is an exceptional book; dealing with mental health issues that few people like to discuss, even in these enlightened days of 'It's ok not to be ok' and #MentalHealthMatters. Dan Mooney deals with these issues with sensitivity and humour, and understanding. Yes, it can be an uncomfortable read at times, but it is utterly compelling.
It becomes obvious as the book goes on that a past tragedy has left the 'old' Denis behind, and this new, shy, obsessive Denis in his place. This Denis has developed his own coping strategies - or are they avoidance techniques. Most people think he's weird and avoid him, but Denis has some very good friends who stand by him. Unfortunately there are also some not quite as benevolent who are determined not to let him go.
It is an outstanding, heartbreaking story which resonated in my very core. I found him to be a desperately sad character, with his OCD ways and habits, but immensely likeable. He is still able to show his sense of humour, even taking the mickey out of himself and his 'ways' at times.
This book shows how events in our lives can shake us to the core, and the huge impact they can have on our lives. Some lucky people go through life without experiencing anything truly awful, and I think these people would have trouble understanding how someone so 'normal' before could be so broken. What we need when we are in trouble is people around us who care, even if they find it hard to know how to help; just being there helps, as Denis finds with his two closest friends.
When Rebecca, Denis's ex turns up, Denis is torn. She wants the old Denis back, but he thinks he is gone forever. Rebecca is a lovely character, treading very carefully in how far she can push him. She shows a rare patience with him, and tries to help him.
The ending of the book is so very good. I was in tears and it has me thinking about it for a long while afterwards. Me, Myself and Them is truly unforgettable and Dan Mooney is a more than worthy winner of the Luke Bitmead Bursary.
You can buy the book here or from other retailers.