Nancy's Reviews > A Life Like Other People's

A Life Like Other People's by Alan Bennett
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's review
Jan 01, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: memoir

The title caught my eye at the library, so I picked this up. I wanted very much to give this just 2 stars, but had to grade up. The writing is peculiar to my American sensibilities, but still beautiful in many ways. Bennett doesn't try to explain anything that is unique to British life, but that was okay, too; I usually understood through context. If I cared enough I could always look it up.

I was concerned right off the bat when his mother is diagnosed with just plain old depression and it was stressed to the family over and over that she was struggling with depression, nothing more, when she was paranoid and delusional. Those are not typical symptoms of plain old depression. I wondered if that was the way it was in the '60s when she had her first bout and thought that the diagnosis would change as advances were made in understanding depression and other mental illness, but, no. So, to me, there was a level of incompetence in the medical personnel that I couldn't quite get over.

The author jumps around in the time line and I found myself a little confused at times when he mentions not knowing about something that he has just talked about at length in a previous section.

Interesting look at family dynamics and the impact of those dynamics on each family member.

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