Author: David Emery
Genre: Biography / Memoir
Format: Paperback 256 pages
Release Date: 31 July 2018
Publisher: Fledgling Press
My Rating: *****
I would like to thank the publisher Fledgling Press and Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for the copy of this book they provided me for review and for inviting me to join this blog tour. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Full Metal Cardigan is David Emery’s first book and chronicles his adventures in social care, from enthusiastic volunteer to feral frontline worker, taking in abusive popstars, chanting cults, drug runs, sectioning a corpse and teaching masturbation to reluctant sex offenders.
He recounts how he gained international notoriety for cheating in a pancake race, encounters with the supernatural, High Court appearances, cryogenically frozen kittens, accidentally booking someone into Dignitas, one-inch death punches in Woolworths, jumping out of moving cars, waterboarding, psychotic psychopaths, plunger-wielding pregnant women and suicide attempts with rhubarb along the way.
This is a humorous look at life as a social worker: in turns both laughout-loud funny and mind-boggling.
You can order your copy of ‘Full Metal Cardigan’ on Amazon at:
I’m not usually so forward with my book reviews but I feel like I need to start this one off by saying I absolutely loved this book! It’s very rare that I actually read a book and I find myself literally laughing out loud, maybe a smirk will cross my face, or a raise of the eyebrows, but not an actual laugh which people can hear. At one point I was reading this book sat in Costa (other coffee shops are available) and I didn’t realise I was laughing, when the person on the table next to me actually turned to me and asked ‘what’s so funny?’.
I have to take a moment to mention the title and book cover of this jacket. I’m sure many of you, like me, straight away thought of the film ‘Full Metal Jacket’. Well this book, whilst not about a bunch of army recruits, is to a certain extent about the life of the author working within the trenches of the NHS within our social work system.
The authors passion for his work and dedication to his patients shine through in this book from the first page to the last. This is so refreshing to read when more often than not I find myself reading news articles where social services and their workers are being criticised for not doing enough.
I finished this book with a real ‘feel good’ sensation running through me. It restored my faith that there are people out there working in what undoubtedly is a failing system not for the money, or even job satisfaction, but because of their passion and commitment to helping those which society otherwise shun, and doing so to the absolute best of their abilities.
Although this book does have incredibly funny parts, there are also heart-breaking moments when unfortunately some can not be helped, and when the red tape of the social work system prevents workers from being able to support their patients in the most appropriate way possible. The author has a magical way of writing that blends these two very contrasting emotions together to have the reader laughing out loud on one page, feeling frustrated on the next, and then back to laughing.
I have worked with social workers in the past and I have yet to meet one that wouldn’t, quite literally, give you the clothes off their own back if you needed them. David is yet another example of one of the superheroes working tirelessly within the NHS. Bravo (applause).
I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone who has even the slightest interest in reading an honest account of what actually goes on within our social work system. I think everyone can learn something from this book and maybe even become a bit more enlightened to what life working for the NHS is actually like.
About the Author
Born in Bury, Manchester, David grew up with his parents, sisters and a revolving cast of characters that his mum would bring home from the local secure psychiatric hospital where she worked.
After finishing college, he went on to a career in archaeology until it became clear that he was more suited to working with the living than the dead.
A voluntary job supporting vulnerable young people confirmed this and encouraged him to find paid work in various residential and nursing homes. From this he trained to be a social worker and has gone on to work in all areas of the profession; from children to older age, on the frontline and as a manager.
David lives in the countryside with his wife and children where he spends his days working for the NHS and his evenings writing in the shed. Full Metal Cardigan is his first book.
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