An autobiography with a difference, Seven Shades of J is Jean Riley’s story, written by Lesley Halliwell, and flips bi-polar on its head to relish the positives. This message is affirming, but not without its caution and a tinge of fear, but the book firmly focuses on the warmth and fondness for Jean’s recalled experiences when in bi-polar. Relevant to those who have bi-polar or those who experience relationships, fantasies, routines and rebellions - as do we all - the narrative makes it clear that Jean is not a victim of the condition, nor does anyone have to be. There is always another adventure to read, propelling the reader through a world that reads like fiction but is fact.
Although Jean’s story, Lesley has taken a creative hand and broken the book into narratives, keeping the pace sharp and the reader engaged, and these explore off-spins of bi-polar, the ties that bind people and the enduring belief that humour knows no bounds. While deliciously funny, there are warnings in these tales about life, sex, unexpected joy, longing and disappointment, grounding the tales in reality whether each narrative is based in England, Wales, Indonesia or Norway.
A silver lining to every dark cloud, Seven Shades of J is life-affirming and incredibly relatable, personal and practical. This is a book for those who want to explore mental health impacting on day-to-day life, for the reader who’s in the midst of change or maybe someone who is along for the ride on someone else’s bi-polar journey.