I had a wry smile when I picked this one off the shelf.
Good Morning Midnight is one of my sister’s favourite books.Enthused by her usual good taste, I can remember buying it and then after a few chapters wondering if I should call her and check that she wasn’t in the middle of some crisis.

I thought the main character was paranoid, depressing, self-obsessed and reading it made me feel, well, miserable. It was quickly relegated to the end of the bottom shelf with the oversized books that had to lie down, the novelty books you get at Christmas that no-one reads and my London A-Z. (Kids – we once had to read maps to find our way around and you could purchase a whole book of London streets)

In my defence, Wikipedia tells me that critics in 1939 thought that it was well written, but too depressing and the book sold poorly, leaving Rhys adrift for 10 years after its publication. That doesn’t so much vindicate me as make me feel old. I have the brain of a 1930s reader.

  A few years ago I decided to give Jean Rhys and my sister another chance.

Instead of shouting, “no-one hates you, it’s all in your head!” at the book, I found myself understanding that there is a right time to read it. Such is the power of the writing, it takes a resilient reader to appreciate the beauty of the words and the world that Rhys creates as you spiral downwards through Sasha’s journey.

So, if you find this birthday book it carries a disclaimer *Do not read if you have recently lost your gerbil, split up with the love of your life or are undergoing some kind of detox or given up coffee. Wait until you are stronger*