Published: 01/06/2012
ISBN: 9781780881652
eISBN: 9781783066391
Format: Paperback/eBook

"Every part of it is an extremely powerful reading experience. It is heartbreaking and fascinating in equal amounts." Harper Collins Review

This is a simply stunning book. It is moving, emotive and raises crucial issues regarding children and young adults who act in a caring role in the UK. This caring role may not only be for mental health issues of course, but also a range of physical health problems. The profound physical, psychological and social impacts that this role can have on young people is starkly presented in this autobiography...I found myself both moved and haunted by this book...A key text for clinicians, students and carers and parents themselves.' – Madness and Literature Network , University of Nottingham

All in all Hersey’s story can be summed up in a few words: haunting, disturbing, sad and important. Her book gives us a glimpse into the world of a child carer, one that I believe few have gotten to know this intimately. The tremendous impact that this role has had on her development and psyche is over whelming at times and shows just how much outreach is needed for children in similar situations. My hope is that in writing her story, Jane Hersey was able to find some peace with the childhood she knew. -

Fantastically written. It left me feeling emotional for the childhood she lost and also wondering how she got where she is today! I would recommend this book to professionals, survivors and anyone whishing to understand the effects of mental illness, poverty, emotional neglect and sexual abuse. - NAPAC, National Assoc for People Abused in Childhood.

It was a book which provides important insight into so many issues – Alan Stein Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. University of Oxford.

Breath in the Dark does have an intense impact and the powerful link between emotions and eating are clearly drawn. I will be pleased to use it in our collection of recovery narratives. – Janet Treasure, Professor of Psychiatry, Kings College

Many of the experiences you describe – the coping behaviours resulting from the apparent decompensation and increasingly dissociative processing - resonated with me, because, in my experience, people find that such experiences are almost impossible to put into words. Some of the women I’ve spoken to have a degree of cognitive detachment that is so acute, they have trouble simply describing how they feel at any one time. Thank you for somehow finding a way past that. If it’s acceptable to you, I intend to recommend your book to a couple of colleagues for inclusion on their reading lists. – Dr Rhonda-Jane Milligan, Glasgow Caledonian University more

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About the Author

I was born in the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester in 1953. This area of Manchester was part of one of the largest Jewish communities outside London. I have lived on the Fylde Coast for the past 30 ... read more

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Breath in the Dark
by Jane Hersey

Settling down on the bed, I stroked the plump, still body, watching my mother’s face just to make sure she was still breathing. As a 6 year old that was all I wanted, not toys or chocolates or comforts, just to know my mother was still alive was enough.

Jane Hersey’s autobiography is told through the thoughts and voice of a traumatized, isolated child, enduring the stresses and strains of day-to-day life under difficult circumstances in 1960s Manchester. As a six year old child with sole care of a mother suffering with clinical depression, diabetes and eating disorders, Jane is ostracized by the Jewish community and the community at large. Breath in the Dark is the heart-rending story of a girl socially isolated, neglected, physically, emotionally and sexually abused and living in poverty.

“From the first lines of Breath in the Dark, there is a powerful sense that this is special. The simplicity of Jane’s style, the clarity of the child’s voice and the intensity of emotion fired in those few words had me hooked from the start. [...] Jane expresses the beautiful mix of confusion, faith and fear that characterises her childhood effortlessly... There is so much I could say about Breath in the Dark, it’s excellent narrative, incredible intensity and the unfakeable ring of truth it carries. [...] It is heartbreaking and fascinating in equal amounts.” – Review by Harper Collins

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