The Boy Between: A Gripping Story About Depression

There is a scourge that does not discriminate, regardless of gender, race, nationality, or sexuality. It often finds its way to victims through social media. And it does not watch a clock–it hits some people during the prime of life.

Depression tightens its grip on Josh Hartley when he goes away to England’s Southhampton University. He watches fellow students have the time of their lives, but for him, university life heightens the loneliness and despair he has experienced for years.

In The Boy Between: A Mother and Son’s Journey From a World Gone Grey, English novelist Amanda Prowse describes her struggle to lift her son from the depths of depression. She gains new hope as he heads off to university.

In alternating chapters, mother and son describe the journey. Josh’s narrative is especially powerful as he buries his shame under the covers of his bed. How do you come clean that you are not perfect? That you failed in college? Or, he asks himself, is it easier to check yourself out? For Josh, the book was a way to open the mental health conversation, especially for boys and men, with a message. He encourages males to say “I cry,” or “I suffer” and admit, “I need help.”

He is thankful he has a loving family to support him, but he and his mother now know those who have depression must lead their fight to get better. He pleads that other sufferers hang in there. “You are not alone.”

This is a book for the mentally ill, but also for those who want to understand an illness that affects so many. It holds a message of hope. It offers education through a story that relates the pitfalls of ignorance, like when someone tells a suffering youth to “Man up.”

As a sufferer of anxiety and depression as long as I can remember, I have found solace and much more on the long-distance trails of Europe. Like Josh, I told my story in a book (Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows), which was cathartic for me. I am most touched when readers write that my story helped them with their own struggles. Like Josh writes, we are all in this together.

10 thoughts on “The Boy Between: A Gripping Story About Depression

  1. Gosh, this sounds like a powerful book. I’m going to buy it. My grandson is nearly 2 years old and I know he faces many hurdles and obstacles in his journey into adulthood, so I’m looking for books and stories he can read and possibly relate to. I’ll give it to him if and when the need arises. So much pressure falls on boys to ‘man up’ as you say, but thankfully more and more, society is becoming enlightened….thanks for sharing this.

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      1. Yes, I can imagine. I struggled with severe depression myself for 40 years, and had a breakdown in 1987. But thankfully since I’ve lived in the UK, I’ve been well. Young boys have so many pressures on them, and I’d like to give him tools to navigate his way through the teenage years…

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      1. Cool, yes, I saw that mentioned. Having walked the Portuguese Coastal Route, I was intrigued. I’ll put it on order for 2021. I’ve bought so many books (travel/personal autobiographies) already this year that I have a pile of 5 waiting to be read ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„

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      2. Yes. If you search for Camino Sunrise on Goodreads, click on the โ€œstoresโ€ drop down menu. I found it at several independent online stores.
        Thanks so much for checking out my blog.
        I understand about Amazon, but I have to say as an indie author, Amazon has allowed me to publish as a rookie; I would not be a published author without Amazonโ€™s helpful staff and low-cost vehicle. I could not afford other companies and, even if I could, they could not have connected me with readers in 10 countries. As a huge extra, people I walked with in Spain found my book and wrote to me!
        Best wishes. I would love to hear what you think of my book; no obligation, though.

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      3. Oh I know ๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜”๐Ÿ˜” one of my friends chastised me, saying much the same as you. Sorry ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’ll definitely check out the independent stores.
        P.s. Amazon is not the only company I boycott ๐Ÿ˜ it’s a struggle sometimes because I know there are people working for them, but sometimes you just have to go with it….
        How awesome that you connected with fellow pilgrims from your walk

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  2. “Pitfalls of ignorance” such an elegant way to reflect upon the absurdity of this world. Living in India, everyday I witness people passing judgements, unknowingly making somebody’s journey difficult, too blinded by their own prejudices, only to say later, “if only I knew.” Books like this one are like a wake up call, slapping the truth in the world’s face that it’s time to stop and retrospect.

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    1. Not sure if you have read it, but in The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz says we should strive to โ€œspeak impeccablyโ€ to ourselves and to others. I try to live by that, but it is tough…stupid stuff comes out sometimes anyway.

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