Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hang on to your sanity with Elizabeth Flock's debut novel

Since I've been writing more about the books I read, I have been keeping better track not only of what I read but also of who wrote it.

(Side note: Saw this on twitter today on the value of keeping a book journal. May have to start something similar. Anyone out there have a method that works they'd like to share??)

In any case, as I've mentioned before I'm a big fan of Stewart Onan, Jodi Picoult, Jennifer Weiner (did you catch her last night in the Bravo Clubhouse with Andy Cohen!?)

Add Elizabeth Flock to that list.

"But Inside I'm Screaming" marks the fourth of her novels I've gotten lost in, though it's the first one she published. ("Me & Emma" and "Sleepwalking in Daylight" "Everything Must Go" are the others.)

In Screaming, we meet driven TV journalist Isabel Murphy as she's freezing on national television during coverage of Princess Diana's accident. The fallout from her failing marriage and faltering career prove too much and she finds herself at Three Breezes, a psychiatric hospital.

Her struggle to regain her mental health balance is very relatable. Who has on occasion felt overwhelmed?
Who hasn't thought if I could just have the time to pull it together? What makes some of us able to continue to move forward? And how would I cope if suddenly it was all just too much?

As Isabel says to a therapist:

"You can imagine? What? You can imagine what it's like to go from having everything to having nothing? To be treated like an infant sometime and an inmate others? I can't even count how many times I've traveled, alone, mind you, to foreign countries to cover pretty dangerous stories - wars, even. And yet I can barely take two steps out of the unit without someone telling me to sign myself out."
Like her therapist I can't imagine. But after reading Flock's work I have a better idea.

Read an excerpt of "But Inside I'm Screaming" here. You won't want to stop.

See you in the stacks!

Tricia Ambrose

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