'Dear Dee' a truly wonderful read

‘Dear Dee’ a truly wonderful read

By Liz Lockhart

It is nearly a year since I first read ‘Dear Dee’ by Sue Uden, but I picked it back up over the Christmas period and browsed it again.  This book is an inspirational insight into how mental ill health not only affects the individual sufferer but also touches their loved ones.

The press release for the book reads:

According to the World Health Organisation, 1 in every 4 people, 25% of all individuals in the world, suffer from one or more mental disorders in their lifetime.  This means that each and every one of us must know personally, or know of, someone who has been touched by mental illness.

Sue Uden has presented us with an extremely well-paced, intelligently expressed novel focusing on a period in the life of an English family during the 1980s.

Dear Dee is a multifaceted story which fully explores the personality traits of the immediate and extended family.  It is the extremely well observed interaction between individual family members which brings the story to life.  The ever-constant theme of mental illness is a thread running through the fabric of the story.  Its’ devastating impact on family life is thoughtfully and skilfully explored.  The reader will be left in no doubt as to the on-going corrosive impact on the family unit and individual family members.  Any reader who has had, or been touched by, similar experience will identify with this novel.  The range of emotions, including guilt and helplessness, vividly described in Dear Dee culminate in the final poignant, closing lines which are at once sad but immensely uplifting.

Dear Dee is more than the press release describes but you need to read it to understand this.  Sue Uden talked to Mental Healthy about her motivation for this book.  Sue says that with some rare and precious time alone over the Christmas period she read the May/June issue of Uncovered Magazine  in which the writer of the Star Letter said that an article in a previous issue of Uncovered had made her feel that she was not alone and thanked the magazine for giving her the boost she needed to carry on fighting.  That was one of the reactions that I had hoped to create when I wrote Dear Dee.

Sue continued by saying that she then read the Uncovered article called ‘A Tribute to Louise Wright’ by her fiancee, Danielle McColm who says - 'wherever you are, I know you are in a better place, free from the pain, ... Now all I have to do is learn to live with mine. x"  And that one quote brings tears to my eyes, because my interpretation of that message is one that I also wanted to portray in Dear Dee - that the pain doesn't always stop with the immediate sufferer of the illness. But for the carers, or family, there is still nobody to punch, nowhere to shout and scream and apportion blame,  because without rational explanations for their suffering there can be no true culprit.

Dear Dee, by Sue Uden, is now available from Amazon in paperback.  

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