I found the book both passionate and poignant; I thought the description of mania and slow realisation/sense of alienation from the outside world was brilliantly portrayed and one of the bits that really moved me was his phone calls when the truth of his abandoned and isolated status from previous friends and associates came to life. Hilary (Occupational Therapist – Mental Health)
I think this book will appeal to many, as there are many who have been there and are there and will be there in the future. Often those on the outside who have never suffered from a mental illness cannot understand that you can’t take a few pills and then get better in a week. Bev
House of Bread is an excellent read, and I can’t imagine for the life of me why a mainstream publisher hasn’t picked it up. Don
I very much enjoyed House of Bread. It is a fascinating account of what goes on in such a hospital. I found it hard to put the book down. Antonia
I enjoyed Amanda Nicol’s book enormously. I was intrigued by the plot, which reveals itself slowly and I was invigorated by the pace. I think more people would enjoy this story if they could see how sensibly and humorously she has treated the subject. Speech is beautifully recorded. I found the book hard to put down. Diana
I loved this book. It tells us about the many who are having a very difficult time in their lives and brings ‘mental illness’ into a humane context so that we can identify with the characters and feel love and sympathy. To make it seem not the secret terrible shame is a great achievement. I was brought up with mental illness, my aunt didn’t speak after a breakdown when she was about 18 and she spent the rest of her life as a sort of shell of a person, it was heartbreaking for my family especially my grandmother. We never knew when she would have a turn. Thank you, Amanda, for describing the experience so well, I feel it will have helped many. Lily
I was moved to e-mail you since recently reading ‘House of Bread’ by Amanda Nicol. I am a very selective reader and it has joined the ranks of ‘unputdownable’, I read the book in one sitting and am recommending it to friends. I found it be both humane and human, well written, accessible, darkly and appropriately humorous and definitely required reading. Anyone who has been on a ‘wobble’ (just about everyone I imagine) can identify with the experience of Dan to a greater or lesser degree. It is not in the least a depressing account of subject matter that can and has been stigmatised. I feel that this book would be a fantastic addition to recommended reading for young teenagers at school, normalising that which can seem both isolating and terrifying. Linda K
I had the pleasure of reading House of Bread last week whilst on holiday. Amanda has crafted a very well written novel, and fully deserves the praise that has been heaped upon her in other reviews of the work. It is, in turns, funny, touching and thought provoking. Her portrayal of the vulnerable Dan is very effective and I was immensely satisfied that the ending showed hope for his future. Her obvious knowledge of the mental healthcare system and the treatments used enriched the story, which was strong enough to stand on its own. The characters were sympathetic, the dialogue wonderful and I found it an excellent, life-affirming read.
I expected this to be a difficult book, but no – straight in, easy to read, I laughed, I cried and I found, unexpectedly, bits that hit a personal note. Pam
…there’s a wealth of detail in here (the author writes very, very well by the way), so that you know the author has been there, done that. It’s not a novel which requires a plot; it’s just about a stay in a mental hospital. It’s completely undramatised and all the more effective for it. The problem is that I don’t suppose the author will produce anything else – what would you expect to follow on from this anyway? You know better than I do. And you also know whether or not you can sell such a novel. If you tell the sales department you want to consider a novel about a sectioned manic-depressive, they’ll groan. But given that’s what it is, it’s very very well done. It’s hard to work out quite what sets it apart from the usual slush-pile loonie-bin saga, but something definitely does.
Publisher’s reader review