Saturday, 24 August 2019

Home Truths - Susan Lewis

This was a book from Readers First. I was drawn to it because the premise sounded interesting. The maternal bond is a powerful one and never more so than when called into question in the event of extreme circumstances. I wasn’t sure whether this was going to be a psychological thriller type book or something else as I was unfamiliar with the writer. But once I had the book I could see that I was in the hands of an experienced and prolific author who seems to be comfortable with a diversity of genres. 

After a frankly shocking opening this book then hints at a family type, chic lit potential story but in fact that’s just a guise for a chilling indictment of the flaws within our society and our systems. I don’t want to give too much away but I was reminded briefly of Ken Loach’s film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ initially.

If that sounds like a gloomy, downbeat story, yes, it is to a degree. But there is balance struck to show that there are good people in the world who selflessly strive to help others who find themselves spiralling downwards in that desperate vortex of not coping.

Angie’s life falls apart following the horrific death of her husband and the disappearance of her son. What is interesting about her character is that although she finds herself in need she is that wonderful type of person who helps everyone else who is in need. An empathic, generous soul. But what happens when the Giver needs to Take? 

There are several strands to this story that highlight several of the imperfections in our world that can distort and disrupt everyone’s lives, from the young to the old. To a degree much is predictable but perversely it needs to be predictable for the story to work as a whole. I think one of the points of the story is to show how possible it is for people who seem to be following a smooth path through life to fall down the wrong rabbit holes, not necessarily of their own doing, be they, moral, financial, exploitative or otherwise. But the story also illustrates that problems can be solved. I know this is fiction and real life ain’t always as kind but the problems in this book are all more or less solved by one way or another. I hope that’s not too much of a spoiler.

Does everyone live happily ever after? That would be telling. 

Thanks to Readers First for a copy of this book.

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