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Little Bandaged Days

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Little Bandaged Days  is a compelling tale of a woman’s slide into madness. So different to anything I have read before -we never get to know the names of the main character, her husband and children are referred to merely in initials, adding to the suspense. Its a WOW book
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Firstly I'd like to thank NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

Unfortunately this one wasn't for me, although I know many other people who have thoroughly enjoyed it. I just found it really hard to get I to, and didn't really connect with the main character, Erika.  I also wasn't a fan of the use of initials in place of names.

However, I do applaud the author for taking on such an important, sensitive topic. I do think it is something we need to read far more about.
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The title is a puller. What can it mean?
Well it’s about madness and the deep pull on someone into a different mindset. Totally loved this. 5/5.
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It took me so long to finish this book. I just wasn't gripped by the characters, the plot or the setting. This book follows a lonely mother as she grapples loneliness, raising two young children and moving to a new country. We spend most of the book alone with her and her children who are only referred to by initials. This really bugged me as I couldn't develop a real connection to the characters; it also wasn't a good representation of the main character's growing depression as it started from the beginning.

Without giving away any spoilers, the plot was predictable but parts of the book was touching.
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A mother moves to Geneva with her husband and their two young children. In their beautiful new rented apartment, surrounded by their rented furniture, and several Swiss instructions to maintain quiet, she finds herself totally isolated. Her husband’s job means he is almost never present, and her entire world is caring for her children – making sure they are happy, and fed and comfortable, and that they can be seen as the happy, well-fed, comfortable family they should be. Everything is perfect.

But, of course, it’s not. The isolation, the sleeplessness, the demands of two people under two, are getting to Erika. She has never been so alone, and once the children are asleep, there are just too many hours to fill until morning,

I honestly struggled with this book, not so much with the content but more how it was written, it lacked formal chapters and read more like a journal. It lacked explanations so you had to figure out for yourself what was going on. The ending was sharp and really made no sense to me.
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Erika's move to Switzerland with her husband and two small children should be exciting, but once they are there, she finds things increasingly difficult as her husband spends more and more time at work, she doesn't speak French and tries to keep her two little ones entertained. The story, written in the first person, shows Erika suffering from insomnia, and struggling with the isolation in a small flat with no garden. It's testament to the author's writing that I found this book increasingly difficult to read as the story progressed, reading it at a time when my own mental health was a little fragile, and unfortunately wasn't able to finish it this time round. It's an interesting and compelling insight into post-natal depression and the difficulties that many women face when looking after children with little adult interaction and I look forward to finishing it at a later date.
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The book is a little strange because the main character never divulges the names of her husband and children, just mentioning them by an initial. E, B and M. I have never seen this in a book before. 

It was quite a dark book, the MC’s mental health declined when she moves to Geneva with her husband and he is working all hours while she is looking after her small children.

I could relate on some level and I am sure a lot of readers could. It was sometimes an uncomfortable, heartbreaking and intense read.
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My thanks to Pan Macmillan Picador for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘Little Bandaged Days’ by Kyra Wilder in exchange for an honest review. It was published in January 2020. 

Erika moves from the USA to Geneva with her husband and their two young children. She doesn’t speak French and almost from the moment they arrive she is left on her own. Her husband’s high powered job means that he is hardly ever home and her entire world revolves around caring for the children, not only making sure they are happy and fed but making sure that they appear to others as a happy perfect family.

She starts losing sleep and her feelings of isolation continue to grow. Her husband seems oblivious to her situation and her behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre. Eventually she has a psychotic breakdown and is admitted to a psychiatric facility. 

Though the publisher’s summary refer to the narrator as Erika, in the ARC she was never named. Also, she only refers to her husband as M, her baby son as B, and her 4-year old daughter as E. This increased the sense of her alienation from her family.

As the narrator descends into madness her consciousness fragments and it’s a little hard to understand what is going on. What is real and what is part of her psychosis? It was rather confusing, which likely was the intention. On occasion there were chapters written post-breakdown inserted into the narrative. 

I found this quite a challenging read and while I recognise the difficulty in depicting a psychotic break, it didn’t quite ring true for me. Would her husband really have been so oblivious to the drastic changes in her appearance and the neglect of their home environment and more importantly how her behaviour was impacting on their children? 

Also, I would have appreciated the author saying something in her acknowledgments about mental illness. Instead, the main character’s breakdown and subsequent hospitalisation felt sensationalised rather than handled with sensitivity.  Perhaps it’s just not the done thing with literary novels, preferring to be edgy and inconclusive. Its vague non-ending just fell flat. 

Overall, I found that the way the complex subject of motherhood and postpartum depression/psychosis  was handled just didn’t work for me. 

Note: a slight niggle was Erika’s feeling alienated due to not speaking French in Geneva. While clearly a plot devise it doesn’t reflect that English is spoken in Switzerland by many and wouldn’t have been a serious barrier to communication.
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A story of a mum who spends most of the time alone with her children. Husband has a demanding job in a completely new town which involves spending a lot of time away from home. This means that mum is always alone in a strange town, no friends, no place to go. Loneliness drives her to the point of madness. Good book, an eye opener.
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A mother with two young children, moves from England to Switzerland for her husband's work. As her husband spends more and more time away from the family for work, she finds herself becoming isolated and deeply lonely. There were no names in this book, only initials. The mother slowly descends into depression followed by psychosis and her pain is visceral. The sense of impending tragedy is haunting and it is not an easy read. I feel somewhat ambivalent about the book as a whole and the ending for me left more questions than answers, but this may have been intentional. An interesting and moving story nevertheless.
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Thank you for the opportunity to read 'Little Bandaged Days'.  This was beautifully written and a poignant tale of a woman who moves to Geneva with her family but loses contact with family and friends.  It details the journey into madness and makes the reader realise that circumstances can plunge a person into the depths of despair.
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Little Bandaged Days is a beautifully written novel, but it might take some readers a little out their usual relaxation zone.

Written from our main protagonist's perspective, Little Bandaged Days takes us on a journey with her from arrival in Geneva, Switzerland through to her descent into madness.

The family's move from the US to Switzerland is a move facilitated by her husband's high flying career. He is the main breadwinner of the family, now that they have two children to care for.

After their initial arrival in Geneva, he is quickly sucked into the work environment where he spends almost of all his time. Leaving his wife, alone at home with their two young children.

She doesn't speak the local language, so even things like going to the local shops are difficult for her to manage. Her once mild anxiety worsens, as she spends her days alone with the children and her paranoia increases with every moment.

Little Bandaged Days is a very clever literary novel that won't be for everyone, but will be a delight for those daring enough to venture out of their comfort zone.
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Terrifyingly good and just terrifying. This novel is a mesmerising journey into the heart of darkness as a woman’s loneliness and postnatal depression melt and then combust into insanity. The first person narrative and the quality of writing place you inside this woman’s mind, not knowing what is real or imagined, breathless with anxiety. This is psychological suspense on a whole other level. Whilst never veering from the personal, this story is searingly political, casting unflattering light on gender politics, wealth and privilege, awareness and treatment of mental health and how we let people fall through the cracks. Take a deep breath and read it.
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Many thanks to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for my copy of this book. This is a very dark, disturbing and compelling account of a young mother's gradual unravelling. Although shocking and unpleasant, particularly as the book goes on, there were parts that I could relate to, having been through a prolonged post natal depression after the births of each of my children. The loneliness and boredom of being a full time mother to young children, the bone wearying tiredness that is beyond anything else on earth, the feeling of having completely lost yourself, the nostalgia for the fun times you and your partner had before the children came along. The sheer hard slog of the daily grind. It's a sad portrayal of what is unfortunately a very common experience, yet most mothers don't speak about how awful it really is at times. She writes beautifully; it's not a comfortable or easy read, but deserves to be widely read.
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Being a mother wasn’t something I ever yearned for. But once I got engaged to my husband it became clear that motherhood was the expected Next Step, and despite a lifetime of being, quite honestly, pretty indifferent towards having children I found myself swept along with the perfect fantasy that was having a baby.

The reality was a shock. I grappled with my loss of identity, the lack of love I felt for my little boy and the way I felt fundamentally stripped of everything I thought I was and could be.

I was diagnosed with postnatal depression within three months of my son’s birth.

Little Bandaged Days by Kyra Wilder is a book I wish I had read beforehand. Please don’t get me wrong, I love my children and I wouldn’t swap them now – but I wish I had been more prepared for the harsh realities of having children. I had no point of reference save the older generation who only, with the benefit of several decades of hindsight, saw the beauty of it.

There is tons of stuff out there that shines a light on motherhood. But so much of it seems to be laced with humour, which certainly has its place, especially when sometimes you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry, but at times it can feel as if it can trivialise the daily struggle.

I was much like Erika, the mother in the novel. Miles away from my family, friends and any sort of support system – I was isolated. My saviour was my husband. He worked long hours, but he was there when I needed him. A support that Erika doesn’t have.

A character-driven story, Little Bandaged Days is not an easy read. It’s incredibly claustrophobic and dizzyingly disorienting. At times it was as if the author had plucked buried emotions from within me and placed them within her character. I often feel empathy for characters and I’m often moved to tears, but this was on another level. I found the descriptions so vivid and the emotions conveyed to be so raw, that I was there, transported and in the moment with her.

I feel like this review is less about the novel and more about me – but to me, this novel was personal and I’ve had trouble disentangling my own emotions from those of the character; somewhere during reading they kind of mashed together. But, this speaks loudly for the authenticity of the character’s experience, and also for the power of the author’s writing in being able to so genuinely convey these emotions.

It was these emotions and the increasing randomness of thought as Erika descends into madness that create an overwhelming tension that left me holding my breath in anticipation for something terrible to happen. Her unreliability as a narrator only serves to ramp up the tension further as I was left to desperately sift through the chaotic prose for a hint of what was real. It is an uncomfortably close first person narration and it is unapologetic in the way in which gaping holes are left for the imagination of the reader to fill. For this reason, I can imagine it will be a Marmite kind of book. But for me, the often leaping prose serves to perfectly demonstrate the fraying ends of sanity.

I’ve seen so many reviews around on Twitter for this novel, but as is my own personal blogging rule – I never read a review of a book I’m due to read myself. Once this is live, I’ll be reading reviews, as I’m interested to see if my strong connection to this book is due to my own experience, or whether it chimes with other women and mothers; I’m especially keen to see how this translates to those who are yet to/cannot have/choose not to have children.

There is a stigma, as there is with all mental health issues, but as you open up and talk to other women, it’s incredible to note just how many women have gone through it. Fear and shame silence too many women and it is only by talking about these things that they become normalised.

I think that this is a book that should be read by all young women. Not as a scare tactic but as a truthful narrative of just how isolating motherhood can be. Balance is needed, and for all the wonderment there is in becoming a mother – and there is – for many, there is also darkness and it is this darkness that needs to become a part of everyday conversation.

Deeply affecting – Little Bandaged Days is a highly emotive and relevant read. It won’t be for everyone, but as far as I’m concerned it is an incredibly important book and one which should get noticed.
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There is a lot to love in Kyra Wilder's début novel, Little Bandaged Days.

A mother, Erika, moves to Geneva with her husband and their two young children, but in their beautiful new rented apartment she finds herself totally isolated. He husband is away often away working and her entire time spent is caring for her children. What follows is Erika's gradual descent into madness.

For the most part, I adored this book. It was a beautiful piece of prose and I was amazed that it's  Kyra Wilder's début. It is a fabulously crafted piece of fiction with a veritable sense of trepidation and arresting imagery. The senses of apprehension and oppression gradually build throughout.

The story is divided into three sections, and in each one Erika’s imagined, perfect bubble becomes more detached from reality as she becomes more isolated from the world outside. It is easy to imagine Erika’s battle to create the perfect family life, which everyone else seems to have. As Erika begins to lose control, the story pulls the reader into Erika’s insular world. I found that the other characters in the novel were more difficult to visualise. Erika’s children, E and B, and her husband M are never actually named, making it difficult to fully connect them to the story. 

Little Bandaged Days is about motherhood, absent husbands, language barriers, isolation, feelings of abandonment, change and loneliness. Overall, a very good début and a worthwhile read.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my request, from Pan Macmillan/Picador via NetGalley and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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This is a story about a young wife & mother’s isolation and the spiralling mental health issues she suffers from after a move to a foreign country. I started off feeling intrigued and really enjoying the book & the writing but unfortunately became disillusioned very quickly as I just couldn’t engage with the main character at all. The use of initials instead of names only added to my sense of disconnect. I also found it very difficult to believe her husband was so blind and uncaring about what was happening (even if he was having an affair! And was he? This was one of a few issues that weren’t really cleared up for me)  I really didn’t like the sections that were set in the hospital either. I’m going to give the book 3* because I started off really liking it & I do believe the author has talent. Maybe, with better editing, this could have been an enjoyable read all the way through. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Picador for the advance copy which I received in exchange for an honest review.
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A mother moves to Geneva with her husband and two young children. What initially seems like a new adventure for the family of four gradually becomes an exploration into the corrosive nature of isolation.

In my first year of University, a PhD student (who I may have had a bit of a crush on) described Michel Foucault’s ‘Madness and Civilisation’ as ‘a book about madness written by madness’ and I suppose that particular phrasing must have stuck with me, because it was all I could think about while reading Little Bandaged Days.

I did not enjoy this book. There was no comfort between the covers. You won’t find any escapism here. Kyra Wilder has created something that personifies discomfort. This book is stiflingly  claustrophobic, visceral, disturbing and, perhaps worst of all, utterly immersive. Her descent becomes your descent and while this spoke to me as someone who’s spent a lot of time working from home (with minimal human contact), I imagine it’d speak far louder to someone who has or is spending a lot of time alone with young children.

I can’t think of many occasions where I’ve found a book incredibly accomplished while also not enjoying the process of reading it. If you want to spend a few hours feeling deeply uncomfortable while appreciating some writing finesse, give it a spin.
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I found Little Bandaged Days by Kyra Wilder a quick read. However, It started off well and then I found it boring and tedious. Sorry

Big Thank you to NetGalley, and Pan Macmillan the publishers who provided me with a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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This is a quick quirky little read about a mother’s unraveling sanity after finding herself isolated living overseas in Geneva with her young children and “workaholic” husband. I didn’t hate this book but I didn’t love it either. I found Erika somewhat relatable since we recently completed an overseas move. I understand how in the beginning everything seems shiny and perfect, but then the honeymoon period wears off, the vacation-feel of the move is shaken off, and the monotony of everyday life prevails.  Unfortunately, this is where the relatibility stops because  I began to question her decision making and the likelihood of such possible isolation.  The majority of the book is her inner monologue and her journey to complete madness. I could not grasp why she made choices she did... I found myself racing through pages to get to the climax, but ultimately it left me feeling very confused and perhaps a bit unhinged. I honestly don’t even know if I understood what exactly happened in the end and if the other characters actually existed outside of her head.  Part of me wants to go back and reread the last bit but the other part of me thinks there are too many books out there to backtrack on something that didn't strike my fancy.
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