Friday, May 06, 2011

A Visit to Sir Winston

Mr. Charwell, is a delightful little book--how odd to say "delightful" about a story centered on depression! But, it IS delightful! (The book, of course, not depression!) It's the week of Sir Winston Churchill's long-long delayed retirement from Parliament. Now in his 89th year and only months from death, Sir Winston's "black dog," as he called depression, has come to life and is visiting House of Common's library clerk, Esther who soon is called to a rendevous with destiny at Chartwell, Sir Winston's home, as his substitute secretary. "Black Pat," the dog who arrives at Esther's home to rent her spare room and calling himself "Mr. Chartwell," is the palpable presence of depression in the most literal sense. He is a huge, hairy black dog who tries to suck the life, the will, the energy out of his "clients."

As a sufferer of depression who has been in what I call "the fog" of depression at various times since high school, I loved this book for the very real way it describes just what the "Black Dog" does to those of us whose lives it entangles. As the parent of a sufferer of depression, I wish this book had been around when my child was younger--it's such a great way to help someone understand what depression does in a life.

As for the fateful meeting of Esther and Sir Winston, I'll leave that for you to read about!


dstb said...

Hi Lisa,
I just finished this and I had to struggle through a bit. It got better for me near the end. On the back of the book it says "willingly suspend disbelief". Maybe that is where I had the problem.

I should read more fact based accounts of Churchill. My grandmother was British and adored him. I have a letter from her to my father about going by Churchill's home. She is practically giddy in noting that the flag is up indicating he is in residence (and she was not a giddy person).

If you have a recommendation for Churchill, I'd love to hear it.


Hopewell said...

If you like "personal accounts" with less political history try Lord Moran's diaries [he was Churchill's doctor thru WWII to his death] of his daughter, Mary Soames, book on her mother. For political history there are so many choices! I also like a good photographic book such as Mary Soames Family Album. You can buy these used or get them at the library. Churchill's own memoirs of "My Early Life" may be on project's VERY readable.

dstb said...

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll put them on my list.