• CarlaAuthor: Mark Barry
  • Published: September 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Psychological, Romance
  • five-stars

Borderline Personality Disorder sufferer and released mental patient, John Dexter, falls in love with Carla, a fresh-faced environmental student and part-time barmaid, the first time he sees her. He should walk away, he knows he should, but he doesn’t. He can’t. And by falling in love, he sets off a chain of events which are at first heart-warming and inspirational, then bleak and horrifying.

An extraordinary story, fascinatingly and honestly narrated by John Dexter, forty-two years old and from a wealthy background. John has a history of mental illness, or more precisely Borderline Personality Disorder, and has been in and out of psychiatric care for years. The most recent being ‘three years of intense psychotherapy’ with the associated medications, some of which were experimental. Now he’s living alone in a flat funded by his father who, rather than hands on help, prefers to throw money at John and hope for the best. And taking into account John’s mother left when he was at an impressionable age his self abandonment issues begin to seem a little more understandable.

On a visit to one of the local pubs John meets, Carla, the young barmaid and he is immediately lost. John knows the scenario well and he also knows his behaviour is illogical but is powerless to stop. During the course of the narrative he explains in detail how he’s unable to cope rationally and emotionally with his feelings and the inevitably of his doomed relationships.

There isn’t a woman in the world who can love me enough. Yet my clinginess begins at minute one. It does. I fell in love with Nina within four minutes. That’s nutty! I know that! Do you think I’m stupid? I possess a first class degree in Physics. I know it’s mad……………………………….It’s no wonder I ended up on the front page of every newspaper in the South of England and in Cedar Falls.

With Carla, John is able to curb his more extreme inclinations, and to his surprise Carla seems to like him. They share an interest in the environment and take walks together. Their developing friendship brings unwelcome consequences by throwing other characters into the mix and showing Carla to be a more complex character than at first thought.

John’s story is a very individual one, reflective and disturbing, told with no holds barred and in great detail. The writing is brilliant. A raw journey inside the mind of the protagonist and his analysis of the disorder that’s influenced and blighted his life. The daily struggle he faces is heart breaking and described beautifully with a wry humour that charms. It’s a compelling, tragic and sometimes immensely brutal story, with an ending I was not expecting and one that will stay with me for quite some time, I think.

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1My thanks to Mark Barry for supplying me with a copy in return for an honest review as part of Rosie Amber’s book review team.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

Author links ~ Goodreads, Website, Twitter

About the author

MarkBarryMark Barry is the author of many works of fiction including the cult football hooligan novel, Ultra-Violence, the seriously reviewed, dark and harrowing romance, Carla, and the feel-good thriller, Hollywood Shakedown.

He lives in Nottinghamshire and has one son, Matthew, who, so far, shows no sign of following in his father’s literary footsteps – though he does fanatically support Notts County (which is a much more important trait).

Mark is also the proprietor of Green Wizard Publishing, a company dedicated to publishing cutting-edge, innovative, and accessible fiction firmly based in reality.

The majority of his books are set in either Southwell (“Wheatley Fields”) or Nottingham (“The City”). It is a proud boast that local people who have read his novels can follow the trail of the quirky characters they encounter inside the jacket covers.

11 thoughts on “Carla

  1. I’m so thrilled you loved this book. It’s one of those that left me breathless at the end and unable to just pick up the next book in my pile as I wanted to savour the feelings this one left me with…


  2. Wow Cathy, a great review and this is going to be my next read so you’ve made me really excited to get going with it. We must have both been reading Mark at the same time but I was reading The Night Porter. He really is a talented writer 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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