Simon & Schuster is to publish Chase the Rainbow, an "honest yet uplifting" account of a woman's life affected by the suicide of her husband by journalist Poorna Bell.
Nicola Crossley, non-fiction commissioning editor at Simon & Schuster UK, acquired British and Commonwealth rights for Chase The Rainbow from Rowan Lawton at Furniss Lawton.
Bell is executive editor at The Huffington Post UK. The project began with her open letter to her husband after he took his own life, which appeared on The Huffington Post and went viral. The post received 68,000 likes and was translated into seven different languages. It has also been shortlisted for a UK Blog Award.
The book's synopsis reads: "Punk rocker, bird nerd and book lover Rob Bell had a full, happy life. He had a loving wife in Poorna and a career as a respected science journalist. But beneath the carefully cultivated air of machoism and the need to help other people, he struggled with mental health and a drug addiction that began as a means to self-medicate his illness. In 2015, he ended his life in New Zealand on a winter’s night.
"In the search to find out about the man she loved, and how he arrived at that desperate, dark moment, Poorna went on a journey spanning New Zealand and England to discover more about him. A month after his death, she shared her personal tragedy in an open letter to Rob on the site, which went on to be read by hundreds of thousands of people across the world.
"This is Poorna’s story, not only of how she met the man of her dreams and fell in love, but also Rob’s story and how he suffered with depression since childhood and had secretly been battling addiction as a means to cope with the illness. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and a staggering 1 in 4 of us will experience mental illness disease at some point in our lives, but the stigma surrounding mental health means that millions still suffer in silence."
Crossley said: "Heart-breaking but unflinchingly brave, and covering the themes of male mental health as well as the grief of losing a loved one and the devastating effect of addiction, Chase the Rainbow is a timely and important book. I am very proud to be Poorna Bell’s publisher and to share her both her and Rob’s story far and wide."
Bell said: "Rob was irreplaceable, a one of a kind force of nature, but when I searched for answers around his death, it was evident that so many men like him were dying by suicide, and this, and the issue of stigma, needed to be discussed. I felt so strongly that writing this book was important to address the darkness around suicide, addiction and mental health, but crucially to honour the love and laughter in our relationship too."
Chase the Rainbow will be published as a hardback on 4th May 2017.