|About the Book|
Finding himself in 1963 at a tender fifteen years of age doing service at The Regular Force Cadet School in a bleak army camp on New Zealands central plateau, David is confronted for the first time in his life, by a harsh and brutal regime whichMoreFinding himself in 1963 at a tender fifteen years of age doing service at The Regular Force Cadet School in a bleak army camp on New Zealands central plateau, David is confronted for the first time in his life, by a harsh and brutal regime which goes far beyond anything he or any of his new class of peers expects. There is a culture of savagery, intimidation, and secrecy within the barrack room confines which dominates every waking moment and pervades the night time hours as would the dark menace of an impending thunderstorm. Driven to discharge by the sheer pointlessness of the cruelty, and after two and a half years, he makes his way back to civvie street stunned, angry, and beaten. He had failed in his attempt to be a career soldier and the guilt of this stalks him for decades. That he wasnt tough enough to survive the rigours is a source of shame, paranoia, and depression which manifests itself by him becoming deeply alcohol dependent at an early age. Eventually he succumbs to a series of ill considered diagnoses regarding severe mental illness and is committed to psychiatric hospitals and a regimen of powerful psychotropic medications, plus the terrifying spectre of electric shock treatment. On the surface, 800 Days should actually unfold as a dark tale of menace, sadness, and total despair. However the story, by way of its many complex but likeable characters whom David encounters in police cells, behind prison walls and of course within the crazy houses of New Zealand in the 1960s and 70s makes it an enjoyable, at times hilarious read. You are invited to join him as he cocks-a-snook at institution life whilst sharing the quirks of easy-to-bond-with criminals and fascinating nutters. The reader should find this robust romp through fields of black humour and hope, extremely entertaining, and a book they may wish to share with others.