Paddy’s Daddy, my non-fiction collection of short stories, describing my recover from 25 years of depression is now available as a paperback in the UK and in the US.
here’s what the readers have to say:
What the readers say:
Paddy’s Daddy, my non-fiction collection of short stories, describing my recover from 25 years of depression is now available as a paperback in the UK and in the US.
here’s what the readers have to say:
What the readers say:
This is not a book that I’d normally pick up, being in the genre that it is, but the author seemed a good bloke on twitter so I gave it a bash.
Within 2 chapters, I hated the book. I was confused as to what was happening and felt no real interest in the subject matter, but as I said, I’m in unfamiliar country with this genre and something kept me reading, (namely the fact that this guy can write) and boy I’m glad that I did.
Paul Rice brings humour, action, heart, pace and honest to God excitement to the reader with this novel. Paul describes scenes with no nonsense, succinct sentences, giving exactly what you need to paint an image of the scene, setting or character in your mind, and not a lick more.
Paul makes the two main characters in this book, Mike and Ken (never thought I’d read a story with an awesome hero called Kenneth in it, don’t they usually collect stamps or something those Kenneth-types?), real and vulnerable and the confusion they share about their predicament helped push me onwards.
The most visible villain of the piece, Red, is one nasty good ol’ boy, who’d be just at home in the gator-filled swamps of wherever, picking his teeth with the rib of an unidentified animal while gloating about what deep shit you were in. Loved this character. the fight scene with Red and Ken was fantastic and reminded me of the great sort of description you’d find in a Try Denning light sabre duel scene.
My only real beef with this book is that I wanted to know more about the characters, as not much of a backstory was supplied. Having said that, doing so may have affected the perfect pace of the book adversely. I’ll look forward, hopefully to meeting these guys again in later books and finding out a bit more about them.
The ending of the book (which I won’t spoil) was perfect, and as anyone who has read my own book will know is right up my street. Paul executes what could be a let down of an ending masterfully, and the tone is just perfect.
In lesser hands a book of this type in this genre would have lost me very quickly, not so with Paul Rice’s wonderfully book. Sneaks up and grabs you by the gentleman regions.
Engaging, human, exciting, character-driven, beautifully written. Fine work sir.
The author exposes the fragility of human decency and the simplicity and ease with which people may sink to the depths of evil wonderfully.
Throughout these books Mr Maberry develops his characters in a wonderfully human and believable way, despite the unreal setting and extraordinary trials they face. The obvious villains he presents us with in Charlie pinke-eye’s brood are just the rotten face of the “ordinary” men and women of Benny and Tom’s fenced community, the truest perpetuators of misery in the tale. The analogies in this book between modern developed nations and third world countries are obvious to me, and very enjoyable.
Benny Imura is a potentially unforgettable hero in the making, to rival even his supernaturally cool brother Tom. Benny’s development has been funny, touching, hard to read, and wonderful to see.
I simply cannot wait to meet these characters again, who already feel like old friends, in the third book. When I grow up, Iwantto write like Jonathan Maberry .
Just read it. You won’t regret it, but first pick up Rot & Ruin, the 1st book where you’ll meet Benny and Tom Imura, the lost girl and all the rest.
I do use strong language in my books but they are very definitely not written for YA. I think that YA books are all the richer for the exclusion of bad language. See Jonathan Maberry as a fine example
Swearing seems to be part of everyday conversation in a lot of teens today. But i still think authors should be careful about how much bad language they include in their work. I don’t think they should just add it in to make the story more inviting to the reader. Even some young people find swearing or explicit language offensive or embarrassing. It should only be used if it is necessary to the story and not just for sensationalism.
Everyone remembers the Tom Hanks movie “Big”, right. Little kid finds a “Zoltar Speaks” machine at the carnival, makes a wish to be “Big”, wish granted” appears on a wee card, and he wakes up the next morning an adult. Gets everything he wants, great job testing toys, a wee dance on a floor piano with his boss, a girlfriend, status, wealth, but goes back to the simple life of being a kid.
Great movie and indicative of a time when kids thought everything would be fine if they were a bit older, able to make their own choices and forge their own paths in life. Anything seemed possible when we were 13 years old. So what stopped us chasing those dreams?
Why didn’t we tread the untried path instead of playing it safe, getting that job, going to university, or slipping into roles we never would have wanted as kids? Financial responsibilities maybe? Just didn’t know how?
A Lack of opportunity or encouragement, I mean who growing up in Bellshill in the 90s knew a writer or artist or musician or even a student who wasn’t treated like a lazy pig? Who knew anyone really, who did something they loved instead of just working a job they detested to keep a house to feed the family and wake knackered every morning to repeat it all over again.
I’m not knocking the working man or woman, he/she’s a total hero, but there’s so many of us approaching 30 or 40 or 50 who just gave in to life and went with it, completely forgetting all our early dreams for life. If little Josh (the kid in Big) thought for a second that adult life would be one of such percieved burdens and limited choices, theres absolutely no way he’d have wished to be “BIG”.He’d have run like a bastard from that Zoltan dude.
As we get older all too many of us have convinced ourselves that we’ve become trapped in a cycle of responsibility and repetitive duties. We’ve subsequently have forgotten the goals we had as children.
We all felt that we were someone special once. We all KNEW that we would do something important, or fun, or special or plain BIG with our lives at some point. Life, time, work, illness, responsibility, disillusionment, and disappointment slowly robbed us of our desire to reach our goals. Worse, we helped in the process and strive to keep the next generation in their place too.
Screw that. I say, let’s dream Big again. Let’s find the “I will,You can, I want to” attitudes we used to take so much for granted. Can you imagine our 13 year old selves reaction at seeing us today?
I’m sure mine’s would have been: “Hey, Fannybaws! Get up, do something, he’/she’s done it so can you. Screw the X-Factor. Screw stuffing your face and getting fat, Screw feeling like you have no control or have lived your life by 35 years old, shift your arse, I want more than this!” ( In between wanks of course).
We’re well fed prisoners, buying stuff that means nothing, taking comfort in calories flat-screen TVs, Playstations and shelves full of fuckin DVDs. Jailing ourselves in our wee private kingdoms, and ignoring the world outside and our own potential, dreams and wishes for fear of losing our grubby possessions. Blamimg terrorisms, security, illegal Immigrants, status or eduction for not being who we should be or having what we deserve.
We’ve let ourselves down and settled for far less than we are capable of. We all do it. Worship at the celebrity cult, “Oooh Beyonce has broken a big toenail”, while people the world over, shit, in our own streets, ignore each other and pretend that their lives are fine when they’re a stunted version of everything you ever dreamed.
Ask that teen version of you what he/she would want to change What did you want to do, to be, to have, to see or experience? What in the name of hell is stopping you? Don’t use kids, lack of money, responsibilities, illness, or depression as an excuse to not do what you know in your heart you should be. If you’re determined, you’ll make the time, find the resources, and enrich everyone’s life around you as a result. You deserve that life, we all do.
I’ve watched good friends, with admiration and pride, completely change their lives in recent years, taken a gamble, ditched jobs they hate, and achieved things they never thought they would. In other words, got off that hamster wheel and made bold changes in their lives, taken strides in directions they chose.
All of us can follow that example, keep your lives, but enrich them, and be who you know yourself to truly be in your heart. Write that book, song or movie. Take that trip. Build that house, get that job, emigrate, write, do a marathon. Whatever it was you wished for at 13 for when you were “Big”. Go get it.
I’ll leave you with some quotes from the fantastic Mr Tyler Durden and two very fitting songs:
“We’re consumers. We are by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty, these things don’t concern me. What concerns me are celebrity magazines, television with 500 channels, some guy’s name on my underwear. Rogaine, Viagra, Olestra.”
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war . . . our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
Unified Zombie Nation:
Most readers of this blog will be unaware that I’ve suffered from depression for most of my life (from 10 years old). It’s kind of the family business. I wrote a short Autobiography detailing my recovery from depression as a series of short stories, collected as the book “Paddy’s Daddy”. I’ve included an the introduction and Chapter 1 of the title short story. As always, all feedback, questions and comments welcome:
With the exception of the first story, Paddy’s Daddy, the following stories and articles were written as part of my recovery after twenty five years of moderate and severe depression. They detail exactly how I felt at the time they were written, although in some cases, my views have certainly changed since.
I’ve found great comfort and a healthy outlet in writing regularly these past two years since reaching rock-bottom, in terms of my mental health, and seeking treatment. I’ve recently completed my first fictional novel “Bobby’s Boy”, which was released on April 7th 2012, and I’m currently working on three more novels including a Christmas 2012 release for “Nae’body’s Hero”. I promise that those novels have all been edited to a much stricter standard than the series of short stories you hold now.
This book contains all of my favourite stories and the ones which helped empty my cluttered head exactly as they were at the time of writing. They are deliberately unedited and unpolished in any way as reflects the author at the time of writing.
Men, in particular, have a hard time admitting that they have a problem with mental illness and that need they need help. They have a harder time still accepting that help. Suicide is a real risk for people who feel that alone. I hope some of you find comfort in my stories and take solace in the knowledge that you’re not the only one to feel the way that you do and in that it is just a moment in time. The clouds will part again at some point with the right help. Life can be good again. You can be yourself once more.
March 25th 2012
My earliest memory is of lying in my bed cuddled with my older sister Julie, listening to my mum and dad arguing downstairs. This wasn’t an uncommon thing at all and we had been creeping in and out of each other’s beds to comfort one another for as long as I could recall. No kid likes to listen to their parents argue and our parents could argue and fight like champions. Bangs, crashes, curses and flat, wet thumps of what we presumed were fists reached our ears on nights like these. I never got used to hearing it.
Invariably, in the morning, mum would be found cleaning something up. Coffee stains from walls, food from the carpet. We helped. She hid bruises (I think) behind her hair and made jokes about the mess. She relaxed us somehow every single time. It was normal to us this life. Mum made it normal for us and made it seem like it was nothing. She shielded us from the wrongness of it all. We, the kids, just didn’t know any better. I was three (I think).
Years passed and despite these occasions we were a happy family much of the time, so far as I could make out. I certainly didn’t feel like I had a care in the world and expressed my independence and opinion without encouragement and frequently. I had so much fun all of the time and was truly carefree. Julie was always a little more introspective and took a role as my carer and protector. I did not appreciate her love one little bit. What kid does appreciate love? They just expect it, if they’re lucky. I remember many happy times in those years. I recall trips to the cinema, family seaside visits, racing with dad, visits to my gran’s and cuddles with my mum. We were a happy family once, depending on what mood daddy was in.
Dad had been an alcoholic for as long as I could remember. He was drunk, a lot, and a nasty drunk at that. He was mainly a functioning alcoholic, holding down a job at the steelworks (he was a hard worker actually, never a lazy man) but going on benders for several days at as time then weeks would go past alcohol-free. Always he would turn back to it again at some point in those days. He was also a fighter. My dad didn’t give a damn for anyone’s opinion, needs or wants when drinking. In later years, as I became a man and had rare encounters with dad, invariably he’d be drunk and invariably he’d want to fight me. When sober, he was the most affectionate man I’ve ever known, constantly throwing arm around or a kiss at his children. I began to resent the unpredictability of his moods and eventually stayed away, treating what was genuine affection as guilt-inspired bullshit.
When I reached seven and Julie nine, our lives changed forever with our removal from the family home. Mum came to school in the middle of the school day to collect us. With a taxi full of our belongings, a swinging budgie cage and one confused kid (I knew what was happening and saw it as a big adventure), she drove us to a homeless unit in Wishaw five miles away. It might as well have been another planet to us.
Mum took to her bed for a whole month when we reached the unit. She was going cold turkey, coming off her anti-depressants in one swoop, rather than weaning herself slowly off. She wanted to draw a line under the life she’d just escaped from and to have every trace and dependency gone I suppose. As a result she was useless to us. I’ve no idea what Julie did in those weeks, I saw her rarely. I was too busy splitting my time between being mum’s therapist and learning how to fight, courtesy of gangs of bullies who didn’t like homeless kids. These lessons came in useful in subsequent years with the many changes of school that came along.
Mum had been abused over and over again as a child, physically and mentally by a violent and controlling father and sexually by a relative. She’d been broken again and again and was easily controlled by the vindictive, violent bully that my father became when he was drinking. In recent months, she had sought solace (and love I suppose) in the arms of a work colleague, but made a point of stressing to me and Julie that this man was not the reason that she had left our dad. As if we needed to be told that. I knew all of this because mum told me all of it. She needed to talk to, someone to confide in . I’d rather not have known.
Despite all I knew about him, and mum made sure that Julie and I heard everything bad she could remember about our father, I still loved and missed my dad enormously. I called him every day from a little phone box, a mile or so from the homeless unit, using five and ten pence pieces that I’d scavenged from the ground outside the local pubs. I talked to dad for hours some days, avoiding his many questions about where we were and who mum was with. I also ignored his assertions of what a hoor my mother was, mumbling “uh huh” to placate him then asking questions of my own to change the subject. If he was drunk when I called, I’d hang up and call back the next day. I sat on the little shelf, highup from the floor, in that phone box so often and for so long that it became the most comfortable 6×9 sheet of metal in the world.
Thankfully, we moved out of that unit and into somewhere back in our hometown within a five month period.
Mum continued to lean on her children for years and mum and dad both ramped up their efforts to turn both Julie and I against the other parent and ultimately each other. Despite this, I was happy in our new place had made a new best friend in Mark O’Donnell (a shared interest in comics is important when you’re seven, and still important when you’re thirty-seven) and was popular in school. It didn’t last. Several months after a visit to London, to see mum’s sister Irene and her new husband John, we got ourselves a new step-dad. I went into my mum’s bedroom in our little flat in the “Jewel Scheme” to find some toy or other. As I entered the room a familiar looking guy with a moustache dived under the covers, hiding from me. I ran through to the living room to tell my mum that a man who looked like my uncle john was in the flat. She laughed. Uncle John became our step-dad and the largest factor in destroying my self-esteem and splitting up our little family of three for good.
Mum and John had a baby not long after, Joanne. Our new family moved to a small village in South Lanarkshire. I settled well there eventually. Julie hated it. Lots of events happened in our house in those days; destruction of personal items, arguments, beatings, and humiliations. Eventually Julie went back to Bellshill to live with my dad and his new wife Liz. Far away from everything I knew and after losing my sister, my protector, I changed completely in those years.
The cocky little shite of a boy I’d been was gradually replaced by a quiet, introspective, circumspect bag of nerves whose self-esteem was crushed into nothing under the heel of a step-father who seemed determined to ignore me and mock me in equal doses. Mum turned a blind eye. All of her fight had long since left her. A man like my step-father who was “nice” to her was a god-send, I think, for her. I kept my head down, my mouth shut and stayed in my room. I gained weight and lost confidence daily. I avoided contact with people as often as I could. I spent days in my room. Looking back, it’s clear that this was the beginning of my depression.
Strangely enough I wasn’t all that bothered or surprised by the blackness that now followed me everywhere. After hearing of the suicides, incestuous rapes, abusive patriarchs and severe manic depressives in my mother’s family for half my life, I just sort of accepted that I’d carry some sort of mental illness in my genes. I decided that the best I could do was self-diagnose and self-treat for as long as I could. I managed to live a life using this strategy for the next twenty-five years.
You can read more by by purchasing Paddy’s Daddy on Amazon for only 77p at present.
I wrote a blog a few weeks ago titled “why I self published”. I’ve never regretted the decision to do so, my primary reason being to maintain full creative control over my books. Today gave me a timely reminder of why I chose this route.
My debut novel, Bobby’s Boy, has received many positive reviews and comments (phew).However, almost all my readers who have loved the content and my writing (phew) have hated the books’ ending.
This didn’t surprise me. I went back and forth between two alternate endings to the book many times, settling finally on the ending I thought readers would want rather than what my gut told me was right.
The power I have as an Indie-Author is that I can respond to my gut instinct and my readers instantly. I can made instant changes that suit me, my book and most importantly, the readers.
This complete and immediate control over our work is our main advantage as independents.
Mon’ the Indie-Authors.
When I read the blurb for this book and the reviews on Amazon, I thought it’d be another reworking of Alfie, but gave it a go anyway. Wrong.
This book has a great main character whom you like and shake your head at in equal doses, engaging dialogue, great character-development and is enhanced by the irreverent and very contemporary writing style of the author.
Jonas manages to make the transition of his character from outright rogue to something a little more civilsed without employing the heavy-handed and cliched moralistic overtones of some lesser writers. Without being spectacularly original, A good solid, entertaining read.
This book annoyed me so much in the first couple of chapters that I put it down and didn’t return to it until I was hard up for a read a few weeks later.
The narrative (first person by Blake the main character) seemed like a constant stream of consciousness rather than a proper story, but once I got over that and slipped into the thought process and constant colloquialisms, I started to enjoy the story.
The thing that made this book enjoyable for me overall, despite some elements I couldn’t like, including the main character, was the excellent supporting cast that the author uses to effectively flesh out and humanise a pretty poor Main character in Blake. These supporting characters brought the book alive for me.
The main character and the overall story reminds me a little of Irvine Welsh’s “Filth” but a bit less interesting. I might revisit Blake and Mangle in future, and would definitely give a different type of story from the author a go as his writing is funny, touching and engaging at times. I think that Charlie Williams is capable of producing a lot better quality novel than this and look forward to reading it.
Teacher writing a book, oh god not another one, except this guys actually got something fresh and insightful to add to the usual parade of “aren’t kids so funny” and “isn’t this a cringeworthy situation” books that teachers and ex-teachers tend to shite out.
Two things made this book enjoyable for me:
Firstly; Phil Chruch’s characters reflect The reality of some schools wonderfully. Ineptitude, poverty, alcoholism, failure, apathy, the need to appear interested/functional/competent. These things make his characters come alive in a way that most writers fail to do when basing a novel in their workplace.
Secondly; Phil can write. He doesn’t try to ingratiate his characters with the reader he has no real hero in this book, in fact I didn’t like any of them, instead he presents us with a very funny, very human cast and story, filled with great examples of triumph (when maybe failure would be just), failings, the ability and desire to BS through a tricky spot, and a good solid look at the life of a school through the eyes of the worlds worst teacher.
I agree with another reviewer’s assertion that the book was more a diary of events than a plot-driven story, but really, it’s kind of obvious from the product description that this would be the case.
I’d like to see Phil stretch his legs a bit on his next project and graduate from school. He has the skill and insight to write about something a bit further outside his comfort zone and I for one will happily spend money on his next novel.