Bestselling novelist Amanda Prowse knew how to resolve a fictional family crisis. But then her son came to her with a real one…
Josiah was nineteen with the world at his feet when things changed. Without warning, the new university student’s mental health deteriorated to the point that he planned his own death. His mother, bestselling author Amanda Prowse, found herself grappling for ways to help him, with no clear sense of where that could be found. This is the book they wish had been there for them during those dark times.
Josiah’s situation is not unusual: the statistics on student mental health are terrifying. And he was not the only one suffering; his family was also hijacked by his illness, watching him struggle and fearing the day he might succeed in taking his life.
In this book, Josiah and Amanda hope to give a voice to those who suffer, and to show them that help can be found. It is Josiah’s raw, at times bleak, sometimes humorous, but always honest account of what it is like to live with depression. It is Amanda’s heart-rending account of her pain at watching him suffer, speaking from the heart about a mother’s love for her child.
For anyone with depression and anyone who loves someone with depression, Amanda and Josiah have a clear message—you are not alone, and there is hope.
The Boy Between is a non fiction novel by mother, Amanda Prowse and her son, Josiah (Josh) Hartley, and their journey through Josh’s illness with depression. I love Amanda’s books which have always been a work of fiction up to now but was as equally eager to read this one.
Having suffered with depression at a similar age to Josh, I could relate to so much of what he has been through. It reminded me of my own experience and the darkness and despair I felt at the time. Even in today’s world there is still a certain amount of stigma surrounding mental health and I could fully understand Josh’s frustrations when people were telling him to “snap out of it”. If only it was that easy. My worst experience with depression is over twenty years ago now but memories came flooding back of how alone I felt at that time. Like Amanda, I wanted to reach out and hug Josh so many times. I also wanted to hug Amanda and her husband with all that they were going through.
What I particularly loved about this book was not only seeing things from Josh’s point of view but from his mother’s also. It made me think about what my own parents must have gone through and I remember how many times my mum sat down and tried talking to me and wanted to hug me, only for me to push her away. How they must have felt when I attempted to take my own life. Weirdly it’s something we never spoke about afterwards. Both Amanda and Josh are so open in their experiences and feelings and I have to admit to breaking down in tears a few times at just how horrible a disease depression is and how it affects not just the person who has it, but their loved ones also.
The Boy Between was a book that made me reflect on my own experiences with this illness. Amanda and Josh sharing their own experiences, I hope have readers taking something away from this book. An insight into what it is like to live with depression for one, as well as living with a loved one who is suffering with mental health. Hopefully it will make people more understanding and how to recognise as well as help someone that has it. I found it to also be quite an uplifting read in parts. I sincerely hope that for anyone reading it that is suffering, that it also offers some comfort and hope. Thank you Amanda and Josh for sharing your story.
Amanda Prowse Bio
Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty five novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’ and ‘The Things I Know’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.
A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.
Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…
Praise for Amanda Prowse:
‘A powerful and emotional work of fiction’ – Piers Morgan
‘Deeply moving and emotional, Amanda Prowse handles her explosive subjects with delicate skill’ – Daily Mail
‘Uplifting and positive, but you will still need a box of tissues’ – Hello!
‘A gut-wrenching and absolutely brilliant read’ – The Irish Sun
‘You’ll fall in love with this…’ – Cosmopolitan
‘Deeply moving and eye opening. Powerful and emotional drama that packs a real punch.’ – Heat
‘Magical’ – Now magazine
Josiah Hartley Bio
A keen environmentalist and animal lover, Josiah (Josh) Hartley lives in a remote farmhouse in the West Country with his two idle and arrogant French Bulldogs, Dottie and Beau. Happiest following the music scene in Bristol, at a festival or watching rugby with his mates, Josh enjoys the outdoor life and often heads to the sea to surf and sit on the beach watching the sun go down.
After a stint at the University of Southampton, another at the University of Bristol and one planned suicide, Josh decided to write about his descent into mental illness and the depression that held him in its grip for the past few years. The Boy Between carries the overriding message that things can and often do get better. It is a book of reflection, raw, honest and full of hope – the proof being that Josh is still here and excited about what comes next. He’s ready to catch any opportunity that life throws his way; quite a thing for someone who only a few years ago was living in a world gone grey, ready to disappear from the face of the earth…