Details for 'All Before Me' by Esther Rutter

All Before Me

by Esther Rutter
An open and honest account of a mental breakdown, and recovery with the Wordsworths in the Lake District.
All Before Me
by Esther Rutter
My review:

I was thrilled to find that Esther Rutter had written another book - I very much enjoyed her journey round Britain exploring our wool and knitting heritage in This Golden Fleece.

This book is just as wonderfully, gently and lyrically written. But this time the story is much more personal. It tells of her upbringing, a mental breakdown, and her healing process.

Brought up in Suffolk, Esther's parents split up while she was a young child. Her father's business had gone bankrupt and the family had struggled as they found a new home and financial security.

Esther nevertheless did well in her studies and graduated from Oxford University, going on to Japan to teach English.

While there, she suffered an acute mental breakdown and was sectioned before being flown home under escort.

After some time in the care of her mother and seeking therapy, Esther applied for a job at Dove Cottage, the home of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. Here her recovery truly began. 

Through the Wordsworths' lives and writings, Esther came to understand herself - her desire to find a place to feel at home, to 'see into the life of things' through personal reflection, and the belief that the experiences of ordinary people are worthwhile and important.

In the community of interns, colleagues, poets and villagers, she made lifelong bonds of friendship.

This is a beautiful book which is astonishingly open and honest. I was lost in her story and was sorry to turn the final page.

I spoke to Esther for an article which will appear in Suffolk magazine this summer and if you have the opportunity to meet her, do so, she is very inspiring and energising. But in the meantime, do read the book!

Date of my review November 2023
Book publication date: 7th March 2024