My Friend Fox
An exquisite literary memoir about the wonder, the humour, and the realities that exist beyond what is printed in a person’s mental health file
The fox sits on the outer waiting for me to discover him because at the moment, I am on the outer too. He watches me. Can you see him? He’s clever at hiding.
Just like fox, Heidi has lived on the outer. The ‘official record’ of her life has been her mental health record: Primary diagnosis – Schizoaffective; Comorbidity – Major depression, juvenile autism, and not her own memories. This is the living, breathing version of Heidi’s mental health file that psych wards, doctors, mental health staff or rehab workers know little about or worse, use as evidence of diagnoses. This is Heidi’s account of what happened, shadowed by the story of a fox who knows he'll never belong.
Part parable, part memoir, My Friend Fox is a story that might be familiar to some – searching everywhere to finally feel at home. With fox as her guide, Heidi comes to know how to live authentically, and venture into a future of her own making.
Alongside Heidi’s beautifully lyrical words are her exquisite line drawings, making My Friend Fox a book to be read, treasured, and gifted.
‘Do not be deceived by the size of this book. It is big in all the ways that matter.’
Sydney Morning Herald
‘no ordinary memoir...’
The Weekend Australian
‘Heidi Everett's words and drawings show readers the world she inhabits with a beauty and simple honesty that moved me - and will many readers - to tears.’
‘Charming, heartfelt, tender and inventive...’
‘Everett’s book is about … holding true to the will to survive, and in finding purpose and meaning in an often cruel and painful world.’
The Big Issue
‘a beautifully written memoir — poignant, harrowing in parts, funny, and keenly observed.’
Otago Daily Times
The West Australian
‘…a thoroughly real and stunningly evocative retelling of her life as a person with diagnosed mental illness. Everett tells the story of her journey with great honesty and openness, which make both the humour and the tragedy of her experiences all the more affecting.’
Books + Publishing
‘A blazing Catherine wheel of a memoir. Tender, wise, and deeply true.’
‘With breathtakingly original prose, Heidi Everett gently guides the reader through the complexities of living with mental illness. Humorous, heartfelt and humane, My Friend Fox is a deeply moving and essential read.’
Fiona Murphy, author of The Shape Of Sound
‘Blazingly beautiful and devastating. I wept but felt less alone as a human. I want everyone to read this book!’
Favel Parrett, author of Past The Shallows and There Was Still Love
‘My Friend Fox is a beautiful memoir about experiencing diverse mental health. Heidi Everett is generous and gentle in sharing her story in order to demand a better mental health system for all.’
Carly Findlay, author of Say Hello and editor of Growing Up Disabled in Australia
‘If ever there was an authentic voice for survival from mental distress, then this is it. As painful as Heidi Everett’s story is, it is told in the most inventive and magical way. Her use of language and imagery is that of poet who constantly surprises and startles. Creativity and imagination are the soul food that nourish Heidi back to sanity. As does her dog Tigger, her inseparable companion with whom she shares her life and struggles. This is a most wonderful book from a most wonderful writer.’
Sandy Jeffs, author of Flying With Paper Wings
‘This book is a story of reclamation, resilience and resistance. Heidi reclaims her story from the mental health industry that has defined her based on diagnoses and rewrites it as her own, rich, important experience which holds lessons for us all. My Friend Fox is an evocative and emotive memoir from an outstandingly talented writer. A must read for anyone who has ever felt on the outer.’
Jax Jacki Brown, disability activist and writer
‘A raw and harrowing glimpse into life lived on the precipice, My Friend Fox boldly rips the facade from our sanitised perception of mental health treatment. And yet it is also tender and beautiful, with wisps of fable sprouting through the cracks; radiant art hewn from the darkness of the abyss.’
Bram Presser, author of The Book of Dirt
About the author
Heidi Everett is an artist, creative workshop facilitator, mental health recovery advocate, social impact facilitator, and projects and events innovator in Melbourne, Australia. My Friend Fox is her first book.