Jane’s Story: Books are a Lifeboat

Jane has been a member of a Book Break, a Get Into Reading Group in Kensington and Chelsea, for a number of years, and found it to be a life-line during difficult times. She first told her story at our National Conference, so we’ve posted it here for those of you who missed it first time around.

The reality of life is we have to take hold of what it deals us and we can’t pass the cards back. Two years ago I was introduced to Book Break through Kensington and Chelsea Library bibliotherapy services. It was a time in my life where depression seemed to over take normal life and rip reality to shreds: normality, work, family, and me, all the bits that gel together to make me. During this time among medical help and counselling sessions I decided to give Book Break a go. I have always loved books and to discover the group was held at the library which for me was a “safe” place where I felt secure, the point of reading aloud embraced me. I could step out of the terrifying place my mind was in, let go of fears holding me and step inside the book. Nobody judged me, just offered me a new brighter road of adventure (they even showed me the way to the kettle, now what more can a girl ask).

There have been times when leaving home has been a battle and loneliness seems like a raging river without any island, but I soon realised that books could be a life boat and an amazing safe environment. I can climb aboard some totally amazing authors and titles which I never dreamt I would open, let alone to read aloud, and enjoy the golden treasures of authors such as Lawrence, Dickens, Hardy, Shakespeare , George Eliot, John Steinbeck, Andrea Levy, Dorothy Canfield Fisher and many many more.

It’s rather like an enchanting forest where I can take my place, where words become friends and I can be strong and week by week, the beauty enfolds me in so many amazing novels like flowers in bud hiding their beauty and trees standing in their long lasting roots of power. Unfolding with novels some accented, some new, futuristic, happy, sad, we may often see their beauty but the wonder is we can revisit them time and time again relaxing in their safety. Poetry being the icing on the cake of course, rather like a menu that lasts forever with something for every taste but leaving us hungry for more.

Since attending I have taken an opportunity to share a passion that’s very close to my heart and that is to read to children in a story time session. This has proved so valuable, therefore helping me to regain my confidence. The power of taking hold of the joy children feel when they listen to stories just for them for me is totally priceless

Well my friends I do hope you have a taste of what Book Break means to me. If I can leave you with a final image of our group, it’s rather like a jigsaw where every piece is different but plays a vital part. Take a moment to reflect. Of course being Book Break we have poetic licence so the picture on the puzzle may change from time to time but the vision is of a truly outstanding puzzle that contains some page-turning tales and means a lot to so many people including me.

I often wonder if Dickens could tune in or perhaps even Skype us at a Book Break group what would he make of it all …  I just know he would most certainly be over the moon!


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