book club

Smooth Book Club: In Two Minds: A Novel

By Stephanie Nuzzo May 9, 2017

Welcome to month five of Smooth Book Club where we read In Two Minds: A Novel by Gordon Parker

Our book-loving team read Gordon Parker’s novel about mental health, In Two Minds: A Novel (Ventura Press) for this month’s instalment of the Smooth Book Club.

Dr Martin Homer is a GP with a naturally sunny disposition. Honourable, attentive and trusted by all of his patients, Martin has only ever loved one woman – his wife, Sarah.

When his mother dies suddenly, Martin’s comfortable life is thrown into complete disarray. After sinking into the black dog of grief and depression, he ascends to new heights in a frenzied, manic high. Now, he’s never felt better!

In between riding his new skateboard around the streets at night and self-medicating from his stash at work, the artificially elated and self-entitled Martin crosses paths with Bella, a beautiful and sexual young woman profoundly damaged by trauma of her own.

Our thoughts: 

“In Two Minds is a story that explores mental illness through its main protagonist Martin Homer who early on in the book deals with the loss of two important people in his life. However, it isn’t until the death of his mother that he shows symptoms of depression which then catapults into manic behaviour.

We are then provided with a link to Martin’s late-father who it is revealed to Martin as an adult, suffered from depression and took his own life when Martin was a young boy.

During Martin’s manic period he comes into contact with another character that we were introduced to earlier in the novel, who also displays symptoms of mental illness - Bella. However because we aren’t provided with detailed background into her past, it is difficult to sympathise with her.

Thinking back to the story it is really interesting to see that juxtaposed against Martin who even though he behaves quite badly, but he is portrayed in a much softer way than Bella who we are inclined to feel negatively towards.

I found this story to be quite slow as I prefer serious page-turners but it was a good read nonetheless and would be enjoyed by those with an interest in mental health from a human point of view rather than purely medical or scientific.”

- Zoe 

“In Two Minds is one of the more interesting reads I’ve encountered this year as it deals with the complexities of the human mind and the difficulties and prejudices that surround mental illness. 

Very early on in the story I felt deeply affected by Martin’s (the lead character) story and even found the book difficult to read at times because of the terribly sad realities many of the characters have. 

Gordon Parker takes the reader along on the journey through Martin’s mental health and in doing so, allows you to empathise with the struggle (to some degree, at least). It’s a powerful journey that promotes reflection and effectively highlights the importance of encouraging open discussions about mental illness.” 

- Steph

See more about the novel here.

If you are experiencing depression or anxiety, it’s always a good time to seek some support. beyondblue can offer you personalised support.

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