Firstly, let me commend Christopher Scott Downing for using the medium of writing to allow us inside his personal "hell". I assume the writing of the tale was part of the overall treatment. I have no doubt putting it all down on paper was extremely cathartic for him. I feel, as a reader, privileged to have such intimate access to someone's very personal feelings and life.
I have no doubt the title means something to Christopher, but for me, it didn't quite resonate.I am assuming that the Van Gogh part was a reference to the artist's own battles with depression, that ultimately took his life, which is fine, but the peppers part I'm afraid I don't get. Never mind, that doesn't detract in any way from the fine memoir that Christopher has put together.
The one thing in this account that kept recurring in my mind as I read it, was the "aha!" factor. As a man it was very easy to identify with the battle he had in wanting to be responsible for his own diagnosis, his own treatment and ultimately his own cure. We men, are unique in that, I am sure. Although I personally have never suffered from depression (thank God) I have certainly fought my own demons over the years and much of Chris' reactions to his situation, paralleled my own. I definitely did identify with him and that contributed greatly to my enjoyment of the story. <br><br>At times this book is not an easy read. There is much pain, much self-loathing and much suffering to wade through, but readers will find it incredibly hard not to sympathize and even empathize with the situation Christopher found himself in.
The book didn't have the perfectly scripted ending and I did appreciate that, as I also did appreciate the final note from the author, which was both cautionary to fellow sufferers and encouraging to us all. I am looking forward to Chris' future account of his actual recovery...is this in the pipeline?
There are many wonderful passages in the book, but the one that will stick with me the most is the recollection of his meeting, at his house, with his ex-wife toward the end of the book. I think, knowing this was all true, made the interaction and emotions real and raw.
This is an excellently written book, with an easy readable style. I personally think this should be recommended reading for ALL men. Women also will gain much from reading this book. For every woman who has ever pondered why that dick-head of a boyfriend, husband, brother, etc of mine, behaved like that...this book will give them some real insight.
A great read and worth every one of the five stars I gave it. Well done that man!