Your Own Kind of Girl is a memoir by Clare Bowditch. Clare is a musician, songwriter and radio presenter. When Clare was 21, she had a mental breakdown which left her almost incapable of leaving the house. The book details the incidents that led to Clare’s breakdown and her recovery process.

I have read other accounts of people who have had a breakdown but Your Own Kind of Girl is unique because Clare is able to articulate the thought processes that led to her breakdown. She was also able to describe with clarity her long, slow journey back to mental health and how she stopped being overwhelmed by anxiety. Clare is surprisingly self-aware, vulnerable and honest. She’s also an excellent writer and presumably a journal-keeper. It’s hard to imagine that she remembered all that she wrote. A number of her songs also convey something of her journey.

Clare made the decision to wait 20 years before attempting to write a memoir. This gave her story depth and objectivity and also confirmed that she has remained healthy for a long period of time. Clare wrote her story in the hope it will help others going through similar difficulties. I would recommend the book more widely if it weren’t for the excessive bad language. It’s my only complaint about the book. To be fair, her language was at its worse during the difficult time when she was working hard at turning her life around, but even so, it was a bit much.

One thing I found curious, as a Christian reading a secular book, was her references to faith. Her mother was a committed Catholic and prayed regularly for her daughter and Clare also prayed from time to time. I’m not sure if Clare realised the number of times her prayers were answered. On one occasion when Clare was in Oxford, and desperate to know what to do with her life, she prayed. A day or two later she was invited to a venue with an “open mic” where she performed and felt like performing was where she belonged. The whole journey of how her singing career began is also miraculous as she met the right people at the right time, who gave her significant opportunities.

The book is engaging, insightful and hopeful.

Overall a great read.