Today I am sharing an extract for “Amy Cole Has Lost Her Mind” by Elizabeth McGivern as part of the blog tour with Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources. This is a book that is now on my TBR pile for reading at a future date. You can purchase a copy from Amazon UK and also Amazon.com
Amy Cole is a stay-at-home mum and a woman on the edge.
After a very public breakdown and failed suicide attempt, Amy finds herself trying to make it through her everyday life as a high-functioning zombie.
Elle De Bruyn is a force of nature ready to shake Amy back to life whether she likes it or not.
After a fortuitous meeting, the two embark on a journey together which will change them both and help them find out exactly what they’re capable of when rock bottom is just the beginning.
This extract takes place when Elle convinces Amy to come out for the evening. Elle is convinced that Amy needs drastic help with boosting her confidence and decides on an unorthodox approach to solve this particular problem:
“I think you need a bit of a confidence boost. You’re in this little bubble of your family and you just seem so fucking deflated. Like ‘what’s the point in even trying’ type aura around you,” said Elle.
“Look at you tonight, you look great. Why don’t you make that type of effort all the time? Now, before you get all indignant ask yourself: ‘Did you get a little lift from taking the time on yourself?’ This isn’t about dressing up for Ben or anyone else, I mean do it just for you.
“Bitta lippy can go a long way to helping you face the day. My make-up is my war paint and I’m ready to kick arse in the day ahead. It’s a little thing, but confidence is key. You’re the least assertive person I’ve met and I think a little confidence boost could do you wonders.”
“What’s the point in putting on make-up? It takes up time I’d rather spend sleeping.”
“See? ‘What’s the point’? That defeatist attitude has got to go. You’re amazing and I’m going to shake you back to life even if it kills me.”
“So what? I should shove on some lipstick and sing a power ballad at some cheesy karaoke bar? I’d rather throw myself from the car now.”
“No! I can’t stand karaoke bars. They’re really depressing. There’s always some group of women singing ‘I will survive’ or an ageing crooner, who thought he was a ‘star’ in his youth, massacring a Meatloaf song. My idea is much more sensible. All you’ve got to do is trust me and keep an open mind. We’re here.”
She had pulled up to a trendy bar on the other side of the town. I hadn’t been there before, but that wasn’t hard. Bars and bistros were always popping up and disappearing before I had a chance to even know they existed.
A very cheery-looking hostess greeted us at the door. Her teeth were unnaturally white and I felt unnerved when she smiled at us.
“Hiya, ladies!” she said, “If you want to pick up a wee form over there and pop on a wee name sticker we’ll be starting in a wee while. Any questions?”
“Yeah, can you stop smiling at us for a wee while, because it’s really freaking me out?” asked Elle, nervously.
The hostess immediately dropped her act and nodded her head towards the pens.
“There are the wee pens, move the fuck along. Thanks, ladies.”
I pulled Elle away from the, now glowering, hostess towards the group of women already filling in their ‘wee questionnaire’. I didn’t need to wonder any longer what the evening held; it was in bold print at the top of the page: Speed Dating.
“No. I’m out of here,” I said.
I spun on my heels and headed to the front door, past the confused looking hostess, when Elle managed to get in between me and the exit. She forcefully clotheslined me into a booth, where an unsuspecting couple were sitting. She then proceeded to wrestle me into an awkward lying position, taking over half of the booth. Eventually, she managed to pin my arms across my chest and sit on my legs.
“I told you to keep an open mind, princess. This doesn’t seem like you’re being very receptive to this idea.”
“One: I’m married, two: I can’t imagine if I were single that I would remotely be interested in meeting people this way, three: I’m married and four – “
“Let me guess: you’re married?”
“Sorry, we’re trying to have a romantic meal here can you girls please just take your domestic somewhere else?” said the male half of the disturbed couple.
“Shut up, arsehole; she would be so lucky to have me as her woman.”
Turning to me she continued: “Now if I let you up will you promise to hear me out?”
“Like I have a choice, you drove me here and assaulted me when I tried to leave.”
“Great!” She turned her attention to the couple once again and said: “Sorry about the ‘arsehole’ comment. Can you two, shove up? I need to give this one a pep talk.”
They stared dumbfounded and eventually shuffled up allowing us both to sit in the booth with them. This did not make things less awkward between us.
“Now, as I was saying in the car I think you have a self-esteem issue and I want to help. The make-up is all superficial nonsense, I grant you, but I thought if you could see yourself through someone else’s eyes – particularly someone who wasn’t looking at you as their wife or mother – you’d be able to see you’re not dead yet.”
Was I spending too much time with this woman or did this make sense?
“You deserve to feel desired and attractive and from what I gather by your put-upon demeanour you’re not exactly feeling that within yourself. This isn’t about the men you talk to it’s about the feedback after. Personally, I could live without men – no joke – but I couldn’t find an all-female empowerment conference for this evening in this shitty town so I’m improvising. I just want you to see yourself from another perspective. If you take nothing from this experience, so be it; at least there’s wine.”
I don’t know how long I stared at her saying nothing.
“What have you got to lose?” said the female half of our booth companions.
“See? She agrees with me and she knows what she’s talking about – I just know by the look of you. You’re totally in the know.”
Female booth companion seemed pleased by this ridiculous compliment and blushed while her partner stifled a laugh.
“You are buying all the wine,” I said in a defeated tone, “and we don’t say a word to Ben about this.”
“No problem, I agree to both those conditions, you’re not going to regret this.”
“I already am.”
About the Author:
Elizabeth McGivern is a former journalist turned hostage-in-her-own-home surrounded by three men and a horrible dog named Dougal.
In an effort to keep her sanity she decided to write a parenting blog after the birth of her first son so she can pinpoint the exact moment she failed as a mother.
In an unexpected turn of events, the blog helped her to find a voice and connect with parents in similar situations; namely those who were struggling with mental health issues and parenting. It was because of this encouragement – and wanting to avoid her children as much as possible – her debut novel, Amy Cole has lost her mind, was born.
Elizabeth lives in Northern Ireland although wishes she could relocate to Iceland on a daily basis.
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