Madeleine Davies

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

The Depression Cure: book review

In Books, Health on August 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Every other week I help run a book club for people suffering from depression (the emails from the Depression Alliance are headed up “DABOOKCLUB” which makes it all sound quite street). It’s a small group of people, strangers really, meeting up in a cafe to talk about the book and how things are going. Often when I mention I’m going, people look a bit horrified (“er, that sounds…depressing”). But, actually, I always leave feeling heartened. The people who go may be unable to love themselves, may be lost, tired, but without exception they are touchingly compassionate towards each other. Someone will venture to discuss why things are not so good at the moment – medication not making a difference, therapy a six week wait away, friends uncomprehending – and all eyes will be on them, intent, heads nodding encouragement. It’s sort of lovely.

Anyway, I thought I would write about the books that we’re reading. It takes a couple of months to get through each one (we tend to do a couple of chapters every fortnight) so I’ll write when we get to the end.

For the past two months, we’ve been reading The Depression Cure by Dr Steve Ilardi, subtitled The Six-Step Programme to Beat Depression Without Drugs.

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What makes women happy? (clue: It’s not Mel Gibson)

In Books on March 2, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Book review of “What Makes Women Happy” by Fay Weldon

Reading Fay Weldon is a bit like getting advice from your Mum’s blunt but kind friend. The one that’s known you since you were born and is familiar with your more unappealing habits. Or submitting to the wisdom of the friend who, rather than telling you what you want to hear, confirms what your better self has already intimated. “Twelve pairs of shoes are fine, but twenty-four are pushing it” she suggests in “What Makes Women Happy”, the book she wrote in 2006, aged 75. If you think you’ve offended a friend, phone them, a text just won’t do.

Not all of the advice is this prosaic and some of it is downright shocking (Weldon heads it up as “irresponsible advice”). If sex is no longer part of your relationship, then why not seek out “another friend”? Not too many questions will be asked if you go away for the odd weekend, she writes. Want a baby but it isn’t happening naturally? Follow the example of her friend Clara, whose husband is still blissfully unaware that their first child is the product of a liaison with a “drunken medical student”. Oh, and when it comes to orgasms: “Just fake”. Some feminists are likely to take issue with her suggestion that “The fight for gender equality is bad for the looks”.

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