Father and son: arguably the most complex of all family relationships. But what happens when your dad is a manic-depressive who paints the front door in the middle of the night and sends good-wishes to Michael Crawford scrawled on a pair of underpants?Martin Townsend grew up with a father, Ron, who had suffered recurring mental illness since the early 1950s. At the slightest emotional trigger he could turn from a loving and compassionate dad to a restless, dead-eyed depressive or a spiteful, bullying monster. In The Father I Had, Martin Townsend, editor of the Sunday Express, paints a powerful, often painful portrait of life with his dad. From the soaring, often hilarious 'highs' to the horrific 'lows' of his father's three suicide attempts, he tells a story of pain, courage and resilience and produces a moving and account of a close family nearly torn apart by mental illness.
"I laughed and cried at Martin Townsend's touching account of a son's embarrassment, fear, pleasure and love in his relationship with his father ... A powerful indictment of a society that still fails people who have a mental illness."
A son's funny, sad and tender memoir of a childhood touched by madness
Martin Townsend has been a journalist since 1979. He worked at Today newspaper and, at twenty-five, became the youngest regular columnist in national newspapers. He worked at You magazine at the Mail on Sunday as showbusiness editor before joining the staff of celebrity weekly OK!, where he became editor in 1998. He has been editor of the Sunday Express since 2001 and is author of a highly popular weekly column, A Word from the Editor. Married with three children, Martin Townsend lives in West London. The Father I Had is his first book.
Martin Townsend grew up with a father, Ron, who had suffered from bipolar depression since the early 1950s. At the slightest emotional trigger Ron could turn from a loving and compassionate dad to a dead-eyed depressive or a bullying monster.One minute he'd be building his sons a playhouse, the next terrorizing the family.The illness was an unwanted outsider in their family that could spoil the rhythm of 'normal' life and leave Ron in a cycle of unending loneliness and confusion.Yet despite his often erratic behaviour, Ron was a larger than life and much loved character. In The Father I Had, Martin Townsend paints an intimate, tender and often painful portrait of life with his Dad, a man who he loved unconditionally but who would turn on him whenever the illness took hold. In doing so, he also exposes the reality of an illness which is, even now, often swept under the carpet.'An acutely written and deeply felt portrait' Daily Express'I laughed and cried at Martin Townsend's touching account of a son's embarrassment, fear, pleasure and love in his relationship with his father who was a manic depressive. It's also a powerful indictment of a society that still fails people who have a mental illness' Jenni Murray'A compelling read that makes you laugh as well as ache and also gives a vivid snapshot of life in suburban Britain in the early '60s' Woman & Home
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