Unfamiliar as I am to posting about non-fiction books, there was something compelling about When I Had a Little Sister when I heard it was available for review that meant I pressed the button to request, I’m so glad I did. When I Had a Little Sister is a thoughtful, loving account of a relative suffering from mental illness told by a sister whose love shines through in every word,

I loved the way Catherine Simpson told the history; there was no linear pattern and that felt right, it was as if she was telling the story for the first time, allowing herself (and thereby us) to go off, not quite at a tangent, but to move through the tales of her extended family pretty much as one would expect a friend to do. Introducing us to those important people from her childhood and sharing some memory of them that she’d plucked from her heart. Not perfect of course, but then this is a tale of honesty, and no one is perfect.

I related so well to her family, probably because in a way they reminded me of my own. Not in experiences granted, but certainly in the way things were dealt with; particularly by her mother. Those closing down of questions, the shying away from discussing the important things, I could identify with it all. So I could understand how Tricia’s illness was not spoken about directly, why the questions remained unanswered.

It’s written in a easygoing style which I found really engaging and captivating. Even in the depths of despair, through the frustration, Catherine’s love for her sister is so plainly evident it’s both touching and heartbreaking. I guess that is why, even though the heart of the memoir, the depression, the bi-polar, might have been difficult to read, I didn’t find it so. The author was unlikely to get the answers she craved, but I shared in the desire to find a reason, to examine Tricia’s life and see if there was a catalyst for her illness. The tale is tragic, what loss of such a young woman would not be tragic; but it isn’t depressing. Through the losses there is laughter, silliness and yes, yet again, love,

I’m not going to reduce this to a “I couldn’t put it down” snapshot, though I did read it in a day (make of that what you will), but I will say I really enjoy the glimpse into the heart of the family. I put the book down and immediately bought the author’s previous book (Truestory), and I look forward to reading more of her writing. When I Had a Little Sister is something special, thank you for sharing the story.

I thank the publishers and NetGalley for allowing me to review this book and give an HONEST opinion in return. When I Had a Little Sister is published on 7th February 2019