15 August 2014

Book Review: The Story of You by Katy Regan

"Your past will always be part of you, but does it have to define your future? Or can you rewrite your story?

I want to explain it all to you. How this happened. How that summer – the summer I was 16 – made me the person I am today.

I want to share my memories with you: the happy memories are like sunbursts, sparkling on the sea. But then, like a current dragging me under, there's that summer of 1997.

The summer my life exploded.
The summer I had to grow up.
The summer you came into my life.

And so this is the story of you."

Rating: 5/5

You can buy The Story of You as a paperback or an eBook now.

I'm a big fan of Katy Regan, I've read all of her books to date but everything I have heard about this book has made me excited to read it. People have said it is Katy's best book yet, that it's brilliant, emotive and just one that you won't want to put down. This, of course, made me super excited to read it - I couldn't wait to see what all the fuss was about. The blurb didn't give a lot away to me, and I think this piqued my interest even more, I really wanted to find out who the story was about, and what was going to happen in it!

Robyn King is a psychiatric nurse who loves her work, she loves making a difference to people with mental health issues, and wants people to change their own perceptions of these problems too. When an old face from her past, Joe, gets back in touch after years, Robyn is unsure about resuming contact with him. But when she finally decides to face the music, her life is sent spiralling down a brand new path, one that she is scared and nervous to explore alone. When Robyn is forced to confront the bad things in her past, she's sure that they are going to repeat themselves, and she will be back in her own kind of hell. Will Robyn be able to take a chance at happiness, or is that too far for Robyn?

First off, I want to warn you that this is a very emotional book. It deals with issues that some will find upsetting and hard to read, and it had me in tears at parts. Katy's writing was so raw, putting across Robyn's emotions so well you can't help but feel them with her. Mental health is clearly another major topic in the book, covering many issues through Robyn's patients, and it certainly opened my eyes a lot. The way Robyn dealt with her patients was brilliant, she is a fantastic nurse and I certainly held her in a high regard once I'd finished reading. Her commitment to her patients was second to none and I admired her so much for that, even when she felt the boundaries were perhaps becoming a bit blurred - how far is too far for a patient?

Robyn herself is a superb character. I loved everything about her, although she did frustrate me a little bit regarding her attitude towards her old friend Joe. It's clear the two have a past when he is first introduced into the book, and as this is revealed, you can't help but love them both and want them to work it out together. They both deserved happiness, but the question was whether or not they were going to allow themselves to have that. We also meet Robyn's sisters, Niamh and Leah who are both interesting and very different. I liked Robyn's relationships with both and loved the family scenes - they're a bit dysfunctional but you can feel the love between them, and I loved the King family. Joe himself was wonderful, very patient and kind, loving and just a generally good guy - you cannot help but love him and want Robyn to see his good side so much!

One of my favourite parts of the book were the letters to someone called Lily, which are interspersed throughout the book at the beginning of chapters. They give the reader a massive insight to Robyn as a person and her past, what hurt her before and how she is coming to deal with it. The relationships in this book are key - they make it utterly compulsive reading and you just want to keep reading to find out if they can all be resolved happily. This is a very powerful book  - it's message of hope, forgiveness and moving through the bad times is so uplifting, I was utterly hooked by it. Yes, it was sad, it made me cry and I felt so sad at times, but then a scene would come along that would make me laugh, would light me up inside, usually a scene involving Robyn and her patients if I'm honest. But the way it's juggled about in the book is perfect, it's balanced nicely between sadness and hope, and I loved every single page. This is most certainly Katy Regan's best book to date; emotive, powerful and just utterly brilliant. Read it.

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