The story is told from the point of view of a retired counsellor, or rather caseworker (the name is explained midway through the book), struggling to come to terms with the death of his beloved wife. In an attempt to help her father through his grief and coax him gently back into the world, the caseworker’s daughter suggests that he record memories in a leather bound notebook. To begin with, however, this appears to have an adverse effect as the caseworker is plagued by dreams in which he experiences the personal traumas of people he has treated in the past. Almost imperceptibly at first, the memories and the dreams start to have a positive effect on the caseworker; recollections of his wife turn gradually from painful to supportive; and the ultimate outcome is beautifully moving.
THE CASEWORKER’S MEMOIRS demanded my undivided attention from beginning to end, so I wouldn’t describe it as light reading. It is, however, one of the most gripping books I’ve read in a long time. The author has a huge talent for suspense; he knows just how long to linger on the intrigue and keep his reader fascinated. Prior to reading THE CASEWORKER’S MEMOIRS my experience of phobias was limited to shrieking like a baby whenever a large spider ran across the room. Now I am hungry for knowledge about this hitherto rather taboo subject. I realise now that there are underlying reasons for phobias lurking within the depths of an individual’s mind. Even homophobes, whom I would once have dismissed as ‘ignorant oafs’, have some trigger in their psyche which is accountable for their irrational behaviour.
Do I have any criticism to make about THE CASEWORKER’S MEMOIRS? Well yes, just the one: it could have done with more professional editing. As a writer myself I know that it’s nigh on impossible for an author to edit their own work; we can look all we like at the words we’ve written down on the page, but we’ll see whatever we’d intended to write. It could be argued, however, that any disjointed narrative in THE CASEWORKER’S MEMOIRS underlines the confusion going on in the caseworker’s own mind as he struggles to come to terms with his bereavement. It could also be argued that I’m being over picky, and I certainly wouldn’t cite this criticism as a reason to miss out on this predominantly beautifully written story.
To summarise, I highly recommend THE CASEWORKER’S MEMOIRS, especially if you’re looking for a book that offers plenty of food for thought, an interesting topic of conversation with friends, and an insight into a fascinating subject.
For as long as I can remember it has been my dream to become a published author, and finally this dream is coming true. My début novel, DORY’S AVENGERS, is due for publication by Book Guild Publishing of Brighton on Thursday 29th August 2013.
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