Debut Novel My Name Isn’T Joe Touches On Issue Of Male Loneliness, Depression And Despondency
New author James Thomas has written a work of fiction that touches on loneliness, depression, poor mental health, and grief from a male perspective – subjects that have become major societal issues in the last decade, especially since the global lockdown.
James’ debut novel, My Name Isn’t Joe, which is released on July 1, 2022, tells the story of 30-something Joseph Bogart. Like many modern men, Joseph carries a lot of emotional baggage. This is due to his broken relationships and the sense of hopelessness he feels whilst trying to overcome the challenges of modern living, making sense of his life, and attaining success.
The author was inspired to write My Name Isn’t Joe after listening to audiobook Waldon by Henry David Thoreau whilst driving. James was struck by the line “The mass of men lead lives of silent desperation” – Henry David Thoreau
The impact of those words moved him to pull into a service station, buy a pen and pad and start writing. Those first few paragraphs James wrote 10 years ago, are on the last page of his poignant novel today.
Thoreau’s words touched James because of the personal turmoil he was experiencing at the time. He recalled, “I suffer from clinical depression which was triggered by the sudden and devastating issues that rocked in my life. I was suffering from grief as my mother had just died, and weeks later my marriage broke down due to my wife’s adultery. I had hit rock bottom but was still trying to carry on like everything was normal. Looking back, I now recognise I was leading a life of “silent desperation.”
As James began the process of penning his thoughts, he decided to write a book that would enable him to air his experiences, express his anguish, and touch on subjects men often shy away from talking about. James shared, “I wanted to address the subject of depression and mental health in a way to de-stigmatise the topic so that people, especially men, would feel more comfortable talking about it openly.”
James is no stranger to writing. London born and bred, this 40-year-old is a former screenwriter who has written short films and screenplays for several independent directors, producers, and independent production companies. This has included a stint working as a script-editor for an independent producer in Los Angeles, USA. He has also had a sitcom series optioned and, just recently, he ran creative writing course for teenagers in East London.
My Name isn’t Joe has received some positive reviews.
Thomas’ writing doesn’t merely describe a sequence of events, it is much deeper than that, and it is that which I think really sets it apart from that of so many writers. I really found it extremely moving.Bill Goodall – Bill Goodall Literary Agency
I think you’ve got a winner there. Reminds me very much of Nick Hornby’s writing.Anne Gillion, ASG Editorial
I am an avid reader, but this book honestly blows all the other books I have read recently out of the water. This book is one I will be raving about to friends, family, and colleagues it is amazing.Chantel-Hall Reid – Publishing House Executive
James hopes that My Name Isn’t Joe will open up a much-needed discussion about mental health in general and, specifically, in men. “When I was deep my depression, bereavement, and marriage breakdown it wasn’t easy to go to others for support. It’s not considered manly to talk about how we feel when we are in emotional turmoil, and that social stigma makes it difficult to open and share and even show our vulnerability. This makes it so hard to heal.”
“I really hope that when people read the book and learn about Joseph’s experiences with mental health and his relationship concerns, that it will encourage meaningful conversations about these real issues that so many, both men and women, struggle with on a daily basis.”
Written by: Marcia Dixon