September 2, 2015

Running Like China. Sophie Hardcastle

book cover Running Like China
Sophie Hardcastle
Published: Hachette Australia
Date: 25th August 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 275
Genre: Memoir
Source: Thank you Hachette NZ
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Most of the time we don't notice the darkness... not until we're in the thick of it. It was like that for Sophie Hardcastle, as the joy she'd always known disappeared. She was constantly tired, with no energy, no motivation and no sense of enjoyment f

In this brave, bold and beautifully told memoir, Sophie lays bare her story of mental illness - of a teenage girl using drugs, alcohol and sex in an attempt to fix herself; of her family's anguish and her loss of self. It is a courageous and hopeful story of adaptation, learning to accept and of ultimately realising that no matter how deep you have sunk, the surface is always within reach.
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Running Like China is a memoir of a young woman in Australia, that held my attention all the way through.  Her book is a gift of herself - her story to each and every reader. Her hope is that it will help others who are experiencing the depths of mental illness that may lead to suicide. That it will encourage them to hang in there in the down times and to remember all there is to live for. 

It is a very moving, articulate, insightful piece of writing and it gave me some understanding of what it can be like for someone living with bi polar 1 disorder.  I was astounded and in awe at her experience. I stand and admire her strength, courage, wisdom and intelligence, and passion for life. Her passion for writing.

I loved how she shared about those who were there for her, her family, a few close friends, a boy with ice blue eyes, a school counsellor, a white bearded psychiatrist. And for some reason a surf maker -"the coffee -coloured, coffee scented man with shorts as short as the seventies", who helped her back to the enjoyment of something important to her.  

I wondered about those who do not have such support, and those who for some reason are unable to give that support.  It is obviously very difficult for family and friends to hang in there with a person suffering with such a disability.  It is painfully distressing. This book may not always reach those who have bi polar when they need it, but if this book gives an understanding to family and friends of the person, then it has achieved so much.   I came away realising support is so important.

It cut at my heart that some of her peers in their ignorant youthfulness said horrible things about her on social media.  We live in an age where petty gossip and drama can be blown up hugely. With such cruel results.  

I was saddened by the misdiagnosis to begin with that I think caused much suffering in the beginning. Drugs that weren't helping and had terrible side-effects.  Of course bi polar is a chemical imbalance and when the right drugs are used and the person can underscore that with responsible living then drugs are another support for the person.

I feel inadequate in responding to this book. It is powerful, it is important reading. Read it. It's one I know I will pick up again and reread.

5 stars

photo of author
Sophie Hardcastle is an exciting young writer, determined to help change the lives of young people living with mental illness. She is working with Batyr and Headspace, agencies that train young people with mental illness to visit educational institutions, to share their experiences and dispel the stigma surrounding mental illness.
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AWW Writer's Challenge 2015Aussie Author Challenge


  1. I do read a memoir once in a while

  2. Thanks for your great review Kathryn. This sounds like a good memoir. I'm going to add it to my to read list. It sounds like the author is doing well now. I am curious about her story.

  3. What a courageous young woman. As readers and reviewers we have the opportunity to talk about and share stories like Sophie's to increase awareness of mental illness and the need for support not judgement. I can feel how moved you were ... it's going straight on my read list.

    1. One of the important things under scored for me was the importance of support when someone is in the depths of experiencing and illness like Sophie's one.

  4. I love this Kathryn and I'll be sharing it around the webuverse :)

  5. Wonderful review, and I love that she wrote this and shared her story..awareness is important and her voice may reach others. Beautiful review!


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