This is the story of Jake Ballantyne - about traumatic loss, negation, bullying, class warfare and academic expectation. A struggle for creative salvation and accomplishment against the odds.
It is as a recent bystander commented a case of 'lifelong Post Traumatic Stress Disorder' but with no appropriate support group even if it had been acknowledged much earlier.
Jake unusually lost his mother in childbirth and with a violent troubled father who could not cope, was placed in a kindergarten younger than the other children. He was forced to take a lunchtime nap in the headmistress’s bedroom and instead of resting, pushed his nose up against the window watching the other kids play, wanting to be part of their world. Jake was destined to be different from the start.
With a father who wanted an academic son and the dominance of four sisters, Jake grew up at a time when freedom of the outdoors was punctuated by domestic terror.
This a man’s story, written before men came out about their feelings, a story about Jake’s relationship with women, the world and wood. How being negated from using his father’s workshop, his anger fuelled a desire to prove his worth as he went on to become one of the pioneers of British contemporary furniture design. Some of his most innovative ideas were created in a state of desolation and mental despair.
It spans several decades and is written from both the present time during a stay in a psychiatric ward when Jake suffers incapacitating depression and with flashbacks to Jake’s past. It deals with depression by way of amusing anecdotes and attempts to break down the stigma of real mental anguish.