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OUTSIDE, THE SKY IS BLUE is a beautifully drawn, heartbreaking yet also joyful memoir of growing up, of happiness and love, of living with physical and mental ill health, and of being the only one left of a family that had once had so much colour and life.

When Christina Patterson’s brother Tom died a year ago, she was left clearing not only his flat but all the family papers and photographs he had stored. Christina, Tom and their other sister, Caroline were the offspring of a British father and a Swedish mother, who started out life as young diplomats in Thailand, but when the children were young, returned to live in the UK. There, they struggled to adopt the stifling social mores of the 1950s while also dealing with an elder daughter who appeared to change overnight from a happy, outgoing child to a sullen, often tempestuous teenager who was soon to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Rich with the detail of wild summer holidays spent scrabbling for berries in Sweden, of watching the etiquette of dreary cocktail parties, of long car journeys and the exhilaration of discovering religion and boys, OUTSIDE, THE SKY IS BLUE is an audiobook full of honesty and humour, about the dismantling jigsaw of family life and the love that carries them through.

(P) 2022 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Reviews

Patterson is a passionate, funny woman who refuses simply to struggle on. She believes in living. And throwing parties. And friendship
Sunday Times
Patterson invests her case histories with such intelligent passion and cracking candour that you feel as if you are listening to your cleverest, funniest and, above all, kindest friend
Mail on Sunday
A beautifully written and uplifting memoir about love and loss - and finding the resolve to carry on
The Times
She writes beautifully - crisp, yet emotional and page-turning. For me, it is something about her clarity and brutal honesty in describing both heartbreak and heart bursting life and love. In the end it is only the love that matters. Her memoir will give hope to those that are suffering and cannot see the light
Julia Samuel, author of Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass
This is a joyful book. Despite the sorrows, there is a determined joy to this tale, a pattern of finding the good despite the bad, of turning to face the sun so the shadows fall behind. It's a wonderful, heart-wrenching, compelling read
Dr Kathryn Mannix, author of With the End in Mind
This is a profound and beautiful memoir. Anyone who reads it will go on an extraordinary journey - you will learn about a remarkable individual, and also about our shared humanity
Johann Hari, author of Lost Connections
All families have stories of mental health struggles but Christina and her family have had more than their fair share. She tells their story with candour and compassion. It makes for an intense and moving read. Having had a brother who had schizophrenia all his adult life I was especially struck by her portrayal of her sister Caroline. There is a lot of death and suffering in this book yet precisely because Christina is so candid and compassionate there is hope within it too. I am sure this will be a welcome addition to the books helping to break down stigma and taboo about mental illness
Alastair Campbell, author of Living Better
Devastating, funny, wise, intimate and beautifully written. It's filled with empathy and light. This is a handbook for loving and living fully. The writing shines, celebrating life without ever shying away from the sharpness of grief and pain. It's truly life affirming, strengthening and hope filled. This book has never been more needed, it's essential reading for us all right now
Daisy Buchanan, author of Insatiable