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Anti-suicide campaigner slams Beachy Head book cover
An anti-suicide campaigner has criticised the cover of a new novel showing a car plunging over the edge of a notorious suicide spot.
Keith Lane said the cover of The Dropout, using an image of Beachy Head, was in very poor taste and accused the book’s author of “making money on the back of suicide survivors”.
Mr Lane, whose wife Maggie killed herself at the beauty spot in 2004, criticised the cover designed by Newhaven author David Gee.
The book, Mr Gee’s second novel, is |a coming-of-age drama focusing on a year in the life of a 19-year-old university drop-out who returns to his Sussex hometown after his girlfriend dumps him and his gay best friend commits suicide.
The book, which the 70-year-old author is self-publishing through Troubador books, follows the sexual exploits of lead character Paul Barrett.
He said he paid an American company $50 to create the controversial front cover.
Last Christmas, brewer Beachy Head had its beer Beachy Head Christmas Jumper removed from supermarket shelves after it was accused of being insensitive to suicide victims.
Mr Lane, who has talked dozens of people away from the cliff, said: “Someone could see that in a bookshop and be horrified.
“It doesn’t seem that the author was thinking about the people he might be upsetting, he was just thinking about selling his book.
“Beachy Head is a very poignant place for a lot of people and this image will have a profound effect on them.”
Author Mr Gee said he did not believe people would take offence at his book cover.
He said: “The car going off the cliff is not in context of a suicide attempt in the book, it’s an accident.”
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