The Grim Reaper


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175 in stock


The Dark Side of Depression
By Jennie Dodd

ISBN: 978-1-84991-351-5
Published: 2010
Pages: 91
Key Themes: mental health, relationships, love, post natal depression



The ‘Grim Reaper’ is a story based partly on true events. However, all the characters and all the institutions mentioned are entirely imaginary and any resemblance to persons living or dead or actual events are purely coincidental. The reader will enter an unfolding tragedy about a loving couple who will experience the misery mental health problems can bring to a relationship and to families.

This is a chilling tale about the awful experiences of a middle-aged woman called Ruth and her husband, Robert. The ‘Grim Reaper’ of the title is the demonic and malevolent being who torments Ruth and tries to take her for his own by getting her to kill herself. Robert – her life-long love- and to a lesser extent, her son, Sean, try to help her overcome her problems.

The story poses many as yet unanswered questions. Can external forces of evil beyond our control affect and impact on our lives? Is it right that in the present day under the UK’s mental health act, patients can lose all their legal rights and all their human rights? Is it right that the forced administering of psychotropic drugs (known as the ‘chemical cosh) is still going on in the UK’s mental hospitals and that this remains a closely guarded and very dark secret?

About the Author

Jennie Dodd was born in 1950 in the picturesque market town of Shrewsbury in Shropshire. Educated at the Wakeman Grammar Technical School she developed a love of art and English literature and excelled in sport. In 1968 she entered Glamorgan College of Education where she studied advanced main physical education and subsidiary art and English for three years. She began her teaching career at the Bryntirion Comprehensive School in Bridgend, Glamorgan in 1971. She retired from teaching in 2010 and now devotes her time to writing. Jennie currently lives in Shropshire with her husband, Russell, and son, Alexander.

Book Extract

Chapter 1

Beautiful Bala

As Robert drove the car that morning he felt relaxed and happy, happier in fact than he had in a long time. He sat back in the driver’s seat, with just his right hand on the wheel, his left hand rested affectionately on Ruth’s right hand. Every so often he would steal a glance across at his passenger and note with a feeling of warm satisfaction that she too looked comfortable and easy as if all their recent troubles had melted away. It was late Spring and a beautiful morning had dawned, the sun was high in the sky, the countryside had sprung into life and there were blossoms and leaves of all colours and shapes around them. ‘I think we’ll stop at Lake Bala for lunch,’ he said.
‘That would be nice,’ Ruth replied ‘Back to one of our old courting grounds!’
‘Yes,’ he answered smiling and remembering days gone by when they would have been on his motorbike, in their leathers, enjoying the freedom of the highway and feeling young and exhilarated, with life itself an open book before them waiting to be written.

Ruth was recovering from a nervous breakdown. She had been suffering from bouts of depression for some time and this last one had been very traumatic for them both. At one stage, her mental state had been so delicate, so fragile that Robert had almost been persuaded to have her hospitalised. Instead he had taken early retirement to be able to care for her ‘round the clock.’ Slowly but surely, she had improved and on seeing this improvement Robert decided that they should take a short holiday, a sight-seeing tour in North Wales. They loved climbing hills and mountains. So much so that their own home was named ‘Crib y Ddysgl,’ celebrating the mountain that had been their first real climb together as a young couple. They also loved visiting historic churches, manor houses and medieval castles, so North Wales was the perfect location for them for their short break.

They pulled off the road and parked in the car park of a little restaurant situated at the water’s edge. It was a picture postcard setting, with hills and fields of bright green encircling a long, vivid, blue expanse of water. Llyn Tegid, otherwise known as Lake Bala, stretched over four miles in length. The blueness of the cloudless sky above them was reflected in its deep, clear waters. There was also the golden sun, high in the sky and adorning the whole landscape with light.

It was a truly glorious sun which seemed to beam down upon the Earth, especially for them. A benevolent sun that enveloped them in her warm glow and cast her magic rays far and wide to bring the world and its colours to life.
The restaurant was a black and white mock Tudor building with panoramic views across the lake. Robert chose a table by one of the many lattice windows and pulled back a chair for Ruth to sit down which would afford her the best view of the lake. ‘The last time we came here,’ she said, ‘I was pregnant with Sean.’


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