I’ve actually finished two books this week. I’m impressed with myself. Should help my percentages on Netgalley as well 😉
The first is A song for Issy Bradley.
Now, I’m not one for giving spoilers on books, but in this instance I’m definitely sharing the blurb.
This is the story of what happens when Issy Bradley dies.
It is the story of Ian – husband, father, maths teacher and Mormon bishop – and his unshakeable belief that everything will turn out all right if he can only endure to the end, like the pioneers did. It is the story of his wife Claire’s lonely wait for a sign from God and her desperate need for life to pause while she comes to terms with what’s happened.
It is the story of the agony and hope of Zippy Bradley’s first love. The story of Alma Bradley’s cynicism and reluctant bravery. And it is the story of seven-year-old Jacob. His faith is bigger than a mustard seed, probably bigger than a toffee bonbon and he’s planning to use it to mend his broken family with a miracle.
Incredibly moving, unexpectedly funny and so sharply observed it will make you feel as if you could pick the woodchip off the bedroom wall, A SONG FOR ISSY BRADLEY explores the outer reaches of doubt and faith. But mostly it’s a story about a family trying to work out how to carry on when their world has fallen apart.
As you can see, this is a book that centres around a child dying. I found that incredibly difficult to read – I have undoubtedly become more emotional since I became a parent, and the idea of losing a child completely wrecks me. I’ve friends who have experienced loss, and it’s so very painful to observe, and the writing is so raw that I really really struggled, and actually put the book down for about three weeks.
But I’ve heard so many people saying what a wonderful book it was, and the writing *was* so powerful that I went back, and I picked it up again.
I’m in two minds whether that was a good thing. It is a wonderfully written book. Beautifully observed (for it does read like observation, the family are utterly plausible). But the emotional impact was extreme, and I didn’t like the ending (sorry, sorry – I hate criticising books, I really do!) it felt like I was missing the last page almost. This is most definitely not a book I would recommend to just anybody. You have to decide if you can deal with reading about a mother losing her child and falling apart – I can’t tell you if that’s for you or not. But part of why I struggled so much with this is because of how well written it is, and how it got inside me. So that is a compliment of sorts, is it not?
To put myself back together after that, I picked up my first Rainbow Rowell book.
Why did I wait for this? It was the perfect antidote for my sorrow. Time travelling, young love, middle aged love, gay love, it’s all in there. And there’s a bit of a middle aged mid life crisis, or a coming of age story or both?
Ugh, difficult to review this one without spoilers! Anyway, I loved it, almost in a Jen E Smith sort of way, although it was probably a bit too tangled, or maybe too mature?, to be quite that perfect, so I’m definitely looking out for any and all of her other books. (And I have Eleanor and Park waiting on my TBR pile, but I’m a bit nervous, what if it’s not as good? Slight wail.) I liked the voice – the humour as well as the honesty, and the love, that really really shone through.
One thing though, I get the impression previous books are YA, and this one didn’t feel YA to me, as you don’t often get YA books with a middle aged mother as the main character, so I was just wondering what that was about. Anyone?
So, that’s my read52 update, I think I’m back on track. How are you doing? Stick your update in the linky.