(declaration : i received a copy of this book to review).
In life, we are used to pulling our punches. Very few of us, if any, have the ability to tell people we know, and love, the naked unvarnished truth, as it is. And, even fewer of us will admit the blunt and brutal truth about our family to ‘outsiders’ – even if those ‘outsiders are our best friends. Most people live in layers of denial. We create this picture perfect imagery, where flaws are converted to ‘moments of laughter’ in our lives, hiding the tears, the heartbreak, the utter shattering of illusions.
“If i had to tell it again” is Gayatri Prabhu’s no hold barred memoir of her father, and the giant shadow he cast on her life from childhood through to adulthood. For a generation, where men of the house were expected to be rocks of Gibraltar (I often wonder about how patriarchy damaged my father and uncles, expecting them to be strong, and never ask for help, even when hurting,) the story is about a man battling clinical depression, and the impact it has on not just him, but his family. But, the story is not about clinical depression, her father is not defined by his mental illness. He has a problem with alcohol. But, the story is not about alcoholism. There are layers to him, and the story, generosity, humour, wisdom., laughter – and his relationship with his children in general, and the author in particular.
The story is the journey of a daughter and her father, and the difficult, yet layered relationship that they share. What surprised me most was the honesty with which Prabhu can talk about issues, most people won’t be talking about. There are parts of the book that make you flinch because of the brutal, relentless, honesty.
You can buy the book here