Amanda's Books

The Boy Between

Date Published: 1 November 2020
Book Number: 25
ISBN 10: 978-1542022286 | ISBN 13: 978-1542022286 | Kindle UK ASIN: B082SWYS91

The Story:

Josiah was nineteen with the world at his feet when things changed. Without warning, the new university student’s mental health deteriorated to the point that he planned his own death. His mother, bestselling author Amanda Prowse, found herself grappling for ways to help him, with no clear sense of where that could be found. This is the book they wish had been there for them during those dark times.

Josiah’s situation is not unusual: the statistics on student mental health are terrifying. And he was not the only one suffering; his family was also hijacked by his illness, watching him struggle and fearing the day he might succeed in taking his life.

In this book, Josiah and Amanda hope to give a voice to those who suffer, and to show them that help can be found. It is Josiah’s raw, at times bleak, sometimes humorous, but always honest account of what it is like to live with depression. It is Amanda’s heart-rending account of her pain at watching him suffer, speaking from the heart about a mother’s love for her child.

For anyone with depression and anyone who loves someone with depression, Amanda and Josiah have a clear message—you are not alone, and there is hope.

A Note From Amanda:

My first work of non-fiction and the book I would rather not have had to write - my son's descent into depression while at university and him planning his suicide. Fortunately we managed to find an intervention before he went through with it and are now telling our story to help save other families some of the pain that we went through. Told in alternating chapters, Josh's perspective explains about his situation, what developed and how he reacted to it. My pieces detail what our family thought was happening and our efforts to understand the situation. It covers a long period when the family were completely unaware of what was going on, or that there was even a problem. Later on, once we discovered the truth, I talk about our efforts to help which actually made things worse for Josh then, after a lot of heartache, how we did eventually manage to start turning things around. We know that each case is different, but if you care for anyone who is struggling with mental health issues, then our story will probably help you to get a better understanding of what might help them and what doesn't.

Standalone or Series?


Reader Reviews:

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 October 2020
The Boy Between is a gut-wrenching memoir delving into the depths of depression, written by mother and son duo; award-winning contemporary novelist, Amanda Prowse, and her beloved son, Josh Hartley.
Imagine being that child, for whom nothing seemed to come easy. Perceptions and thoughts as a young person, differing from others all the time. Then finding out you were dyslexic and overcoming your learning difficulties to become a top student.
The world is literally at your feet. Universities of your choice sending offers, fantastic predicted grades.
Suddenly, a fog enters your mind. Nothing appears to stay in your brain. An overwhelming exhaustion hits. Nothing is more important than getting to that bed.
Now, flip the coin and imagine being the mother of that child for whom life has been quite tough. Finally, he’s got his break. He’s doing so well. You only want what is best for your boy.
Then a change comes over him. Interest in his work dwindles. He doesn’t want to really talk or interact. A call from his tutor confirms that there may be an issue.
What no one seems to realise is this is the time that child has begun to descend into the dark hole that is depression.
I was in tears, reading so many sections of this book.
Josh’s openness and honesty buried deep inside me, I could feel the darkness he was spiralling into.
Amanda’s recount of the same days, as a mother, who would never want anything negative to happen to her son, was just as heart-breaking. The realisation that her child was suffering from an illness, which she would not be able to heal easily, was hard to read, but so well written.
I applaud both Josh and Amanda for tackling an issue that is oft swept under the carpet. Depression can creep up on anyone. It doesn’t matter where you are from, what your background is. But it is serious. Serious enough that people take their own lives when they can’t take it anymore.
I can’t recommend this book enough.
Many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book has already begun to change my life. It’s opened my eyes and helped me to understand the people around me who are battling with depression. I myself and people in my life live with different kinds of depression and anxiety and reading this has had an incredible effect on me. I thought I understood it a bit and that I was being supportive of those around me, but reading Josh’s account and how Mandy’s optimism and tears made things worse (sorry Mandy) I see how unhelpful I have been to them. I also understand my depression a little bit more and that for me was fascinating.
This book isn’t just a memoir or a window into a pair of souls, it’s an incredibly useful tool for people like me who think we are saying the right thing and may actually be making it worse. I have already changed the way I interact, the type of questions I ask and how I phrase them. I recognise the difficulties with decision making and the need to be included without feeling overwhelmed.
I am a better person because of the courage Josh and Mandy have, by opening their hearts and their lives to show us what its really like to live with depression and how it affects everyone. This book is moving, powerful, hopeful and so incredibly beautiful in a raw and at times frightening account.
I cried, there is one point where I simply could not make out a single word on the page and I sobbed for quite a while before I could even move to get a box of tissues. I read it really quickly because even though I know how it ends (Josh is still here to tell his story) it was gripping.

This book is brutally honest and if you are triggered by anything relating to suicide, self-harm or anything related to depression then I would steer clear of this and pick something a little more Iight and fluffy. I know that sounds obvious but this isn’t a stereotypical self-help manual, it’s real life. It has some shocking statistics and some helpful contact information for sign posting to people who can help. I would say, if you’re looking for a better understanding of how to support those around you, it’s the best book on depression I’ve ever read. It’s the only one where I’ve had one of those lightbulb moments where suddenly so much makes sense and I know that this book will stay with me forever, seeing Josh’s words in my mind and knowing it’s helping both me and those around me.
8 people found this helpful
I have just finished this wonderful book and still have tears on my cheeks. The bravery on these pages is admirable, depression is can still be such a taboo and this book peels back those layers and gives you a frank insight from both perspectives.

Written with honesty you can feel the anguish Josh experienced whilst in his darkest moments and feel the frustration from Mandy that she couldn't find a way to just make it better which as parents is always our natural instinct.

I am in awe of the journey you have taken and chosen to share, highlighting that depression can be diagnosed in anyone in a multitude of situations and that help is available if you know where to go.

Josh is a superb example of someone who is learning to manage living with an illness. I have worked with many people who have depression and have seen the impact first hand of people saying how they think they should feel compared to how they really feel.

I cried throughout this book as some of the battles I recognised and know how
slippery that slope can be when trying to overcome illness both physical and mental especially when your saying what you think others wish to hear.

This is a book that should be read far and wide to help highlight the statistics of depression and it's affects. It is so worrying how many teens and young men go undiagnosed/ treated and fall through the cracks of our health care system and fail to get the help they need and I really hope this helps highlight they are not alone and enables them to feel they can reach out for help.

A harrowing yet superb read that I hope will help overcome the stigma of mental health and help others get the help they need before it is too late.

Massive hugs to Mandy & Josh for sharing their story to help others xx
6 people found this helpful


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