Author(s): Wendy Parkins
Every morning, so far, I’m alive is about what it’s like to live in a world where shaking a stranger’s hand, catching a taxi or touching a door handle are fraught with fear and dread. This memoir charts the author’s breakdown after migrating from New Zealand to England: what begins as homesickness and career burn-out develops into depression, contamination phobia and OCD. Increasingly alienated from all the things that previously gave her life meaning and purpose – family, work, nature, literature – the author is forced to confront a question once posed by the young Virginia Woolf: ‘How is one to live in such a world?’ In this fiercely honest memoir Wendy Parkins, a former English professor, explores what it means to belong and feel at home, and how we are shaped by our first environments, both familial and physical. Describing the gradual process of recovery – as well as its reversals – it shows that returning to health can be about rediscovering how we came to be who we are, without becoming trapped by our narratives of origin. Like coming home, recovery is never quite what we expect it to be, however much we long for it. Beautifully written, intensely moving and threaded with self-deprecating humour, Every morning, so far, I’m alive is about claiming the right to tell our own story and learning to embrace the risks that the messy unpredictability of life always entails.