black & white illustrations
The Wiltshire vicarage where Mary Young grew up embodied Edwardian convention, English eccentricity and gothic family dynamics. Spanking captains, fraudulent photographers, villagers stalked by Lenin, the midwife whose love could not be named were real people in Mary's childhood world. The vicarage was a place in which the adults did not speak to one another. In her late 30's, Mary moved to London with no skills or means of support, and joined the social transformation taking place in 1950's Hampstead. R.D. Laing and David Cooper challenged long held beliefs about family, social responsibility and acceptable behaviour. Mary describes the London therapy scene - spontaneous encounter groups for unsuspecting vegetarian diners, T groups in Kensington, and consequences for the lives of her friends and herself. What was taking place in the scene she inhabited was intemperate and profound - the times were full of irony and contradiction. The Uninvited Guest provides a first hand view of the changes in social practice and thinking that altered the established order for ever.