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By: Tony Rao

Catch Me When I Fall

Pages: 192 Ratings: 5.0
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Peggy Lighterman vows she will never be like her father. His was a life blighted by alcohol addiction and an untimely demise. Hers is one of placid fulfilment in the urban sprawl of South East London. But Peggy’s life is turned upside down by the death of Jim, her husband and childhood sweetheart. A drink to fill the empty void soon escalates into a downward spiral until she meets Dr Theo R. Hither, a psychiatrist who has witnessed first-hand the trauma of mental illness in his brother and is fiercely protective of those marginalised by society. Help to rebuild her shattered existence breathes hope into a life that she thought had disappeared forever. After the death of her sister, Babs, and a descent back into alcoholism, we are offered a glimpse of two possible futures. Without hope, her life means nothing. With it, she has the chance to turn it back around and plan for a new tomorrow.

There are frequent flashbacks to Peggy’s life growing up on a closely knit 1930s London housing estate; her evacuation during the war; marrying and losing her childhood sweetheart, working as a primary school teacher, the devastating experience of miscarriage and lasting childhood emotional trauma from her father’s alcoholism. Peggy’s mental health is precious, and the power of words could mean the power to change. She is offered the chance to catch her when she falls but how will society finally roll the dice in determining her fate?

Tony Rao lives in Kent, England with two children studying at university. This book is the culmination of twenty years of listening to the narratives of people living in an area founded on the docks and the drinking culture within it. He came to write his first book to put his experiences into words for a topic that is close to his heart. His professional work has involved improving opportunities for marginalized groups over the years. Experience in having a family member with a severe and enduring mental illness has also been used within the novel to enhance the storyline.

Customer Reviews
2 reviews
2 reviews
  • Craig Sherrock

    Good debut and easy read. Very interesting insight into a taboo topic area. Remarkable how much the lead character changes due to alcohol dependence and this is brilliantly captured. Also good insight into what it likes to work in mental health and the barriers to providing good service for those clients with co morbid mental health and substance use issues.

  • Graeme White

    Dr Tony Rao, has worked tirelessly to improve the care and treatment of those suffering with not only addiction to alcohol, but mental health issues too, over the years he has become a valued colleague and friend, his novel is based on decades of front line clinical experience and puts into words the challenges some of the most vulnerable face. A must read for all.

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