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Audiobook Downloadable / ISBN-13: 9781472282668

Price: £19.99

ON SALE: 17th February 2022

Genre: Biography & True Stories / Memoirs

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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

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Reviews

Patterson is a passionate, funny woman who refuses simply to struggle on. She believes in living. And throwing parties. And friendship
Sunday 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
A memoir full of wit, wisdom, tenderness and heart. Deeply moving on the devastating impact of childhood schizophrenia on a family. Christina Patterson writes so beautifully, and with searing honesty. I loved this book
Dr Rachel Clarke, author of Dear Life and Your Life in My Hands
This is a beautiful book. Heartbreaking and heartwarming, it's an immersive family memoir that is deeply personal and yet somehow universal. Highly recommended
Adam Hamdy, author of Black 13
A superbly told, heart-buffeting memoir - a powerful account of how we carry the distress that life's blows cause to us; of how we keep sane and carry on; and of how love within a family can endure even the sternest tests
Bookseller, Book of the Month
A bracing, heart-lifting read. Patterson is a superb writer - part of the redemptive message of this memoir is that beautiful prose can make almost anything bearable. Outside the Sky is Blue is a lesson in generosity, in accommodation, but most of all it's a lesson in resilience
Observer
Written with savage honesty about grief and sibling rivalry, this book slices deeply. A memoir about family loyalty and gut-wrenching goodbyes but it serves too as a wise guide from someone who has endured more than her share of life's slings and arrows, and has still come out swinging
Sunday Times (Culture)
A compelling memoir of faith, hope and loss. Her beautifully written and insightful account of a family living with mental and physical ill health
Daily Express
A book about illness, both mental, in all its variety, and physical. One of the things that stands out is the tone, a crystal-clear capturing of intensity of feeling without resorting to hysteria or hyperbole
Strong Words magazine
A hymn to optimism, and a beacon of unflagging hope
iPaper
She has a talent for vivid, visual description and writes about her sister's schizophrenia with candour and sensitivity
Spectator
A tender, candid, sometimes heartbreaking, ultimately joyful account of family life, overcoming illness and loss, and embracing happiness
Bookanista
Patterson has poured every ounce of love and compassion she possesses into this compelling memoir
Daily Mirror
A powerful and honest, personal memoir of love and loss
Woman's Own
A memoir about the loss of faith and hope. The book journeys to dark places but it's too honest and well written to be dispiriting - she perseveres in her quest to understand
Guardian
Christina Patterson's beautifully written memoir spans all the emotions, from joyful to heart-breaking and back again
Choice magazine
Moving and ultimately uplifting and beautifully written
David Nicholls
'I read this beautiful and exceptional book in one sitting'
Kate Mosse
'Tremendous. For me, this is a book about forgiveness, but I think you can find what you want in it'
Suzanne Moore
A tender, funny chronicle of a loving family and the many sorrows and joys they endured . . . Exquisite, brave and highly recommended'
Independent.ie