I have never read Jeanette Winterson's books before. I had "Sexing the cherry" on my "For Later" book reading list, but I did not know that Ms. Winterson was the author of that book. No, the reason I decided to read this book was the title. I have had depression since I was a teenager, and have had (much more mild than Ms. Winterson's) issues with my own mother. The title pulled me in, and then so did her writing.
I find a lot of myself in this book, and for that reason I would never recommend this book to anyone, unless I found a lot of myself in them. I could see why people might not like this book, especially how it jumps around in time. However, the poetic idea that time in our memories is not as linear as we like to think, and that when you're writing a story about your life, things can jump around quite violently made me appreciate how she went from one place to another.
I give this book 4 1/2 stars (messed up on my own rating!. I subtracted 1/2 star because at times I had a hard time with the way the narrative bounced around, but like I said, I also appreciated it in a way. Sometimes you get lost and wander when you are trying to get deep down into the core of yourself. Sometimes going round and round and bouncing around is the only way to finally catch those fearful emotions that you might not even really want to catch in the first place.
I glimpsed a lot of my own struggles in her story, one that is very different from my own. I felt her despair, and her anger, and her quite resignation to her life, as well as her pain. Especially her pain. I love her for that. In the "I appreciate that you are alive and were able to write this book and that I was alive to read it". Definitely a book for someone who may feel a little like an outsider, like they don't belong, like they have some learning to do, someone who feels like a work in progress.
This book was like a 3 year long self-discovery condensed into a 300 page book. Intense, moving, heartbreaking and healing.