Friday 27 December 2019

Dancing on A Razor’s Edge by Mandy Whyte

I happened to read ‘Dancing on A Razor’s Edge’, a book written by a New Zealander mother and a development expert. I intentionally mentioned her profession because that’s how we met and I came to know about Mandy’s book. Mandy Whyte came to Pakistan as the close out manager for the same project I was part of since 2018. When I came to know that Mandy is not only a development practitioner but also a writer, I became more interested to know about her work because I have this huge respect for books and authors. So in short, I had her book in my hands in a few days and I was engrossed in it. It was one of the few books that I finished before starting any other book (most of the times we leave a book in the middle to get our hands on another). I thought I should put down my thoughts on the book. 

Dancing on A Razor’s Edge is a story of how drug addicts suffer due to lack of support from the institutions, policies and society. Unfortunately, the medical, social and psychological problems associated with drug addiction are not looked upon holistically rather treated under criminal laws separately and circumstantially. This adds to the problems instead of helping resolve them. Mandy has highlighted this very succinctly and narrated real time experiences to open the eyes of policy makers, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders.

Mandy is a mother who sacrifices her everything to help her son get out of the hell created by meth use. The love of mother is proverbial and universal for her children. Mandy has once again proved this. She has gone much beyond her maternal role to save her son from the perils of death. She fights like a tigress against very hard obstacles, unsupportive system, judgmental society and an addict son.
The book narrates a story of a young man who used to be super active in sports and liked by most of the people around him but then is abandoned by many. The reader realizes how costly addiction can turn out to be for people. Addiction can ruin relationships, damage brain and make someone as athletic as Hemi, lethargic. The social, physical, mental and spiritual cost of addiction is too high to be borne. It is very important that the young people who are into drugs should know the ‘limit’ to it. It is a slippery slope and there’s a very thin line between regular use and addiction.

Dancing on A Razor’s Edge is a wonderful self-help book and success story too. It talks about patience, love, planning, strategies and achievements. It emphasizes on not giving up and standing up to challenges. The story of Mandy shows that one can alter the course of life (of another fellow being) through consistent support, unconditional love and unwavering patience. Besides all other reasons mentioned above this is why I think everyone should read this book whether they are dealing with an addict friend, family member or not. This is a book that restores your faith in humanity, family relationships and the love of mother being higher than the skies, taller than the mountains and deeper than the oceans. 

I would highly recommend this book to everyone. I have requested Mandy to look for ways to make this available in the bookstores in Pakistan (and at comparatively lower price) as currently it is available from The Cuba Press on request at New Zealand bookstores only. 

Finally, thanks to Mandy for writing such a great book and giving me the opportunity to read it.


  1. Long ago, during college times I had read a novel on the same theme titled A Million Little Pieces. You have written excellent review. Keep it up.

  2. Thank you. I haven't read that book. May be I should !