Based on real life events this story follows the life of a woman who knows little love as a child and this haunts her into adulthood, how do you know what a healthy life is when you’ve never had one? In an effort to find happiness she constantly tries to appease her abusive husband, raise his children and deal with his family. The final tragedy, her youngest child being born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus dies the moment she arrives, and Jeanie knows it’s time to make the changes necessary to protect her other children.
It’s a desperately sad tale but written with a lightness of touch which will bring smiles along with the tears. It’s also profoundly, disturbingly honest. A real appraisal of a life where difficult decisions lead to difficult situations and how a real person copes with the consequences.
Nothing is perfect in this world, every conversation harnesses complex emotions and the reader is carried through this world where redemption is just around the corner.
Characterisation is strong. There is no other word for it. Perhaps it’s because of the intensity, perhaps it’s the real life aspect, but these characters leap off the page in screaming Technicolor. The pace of the story is also intense. It doesn’t hang about and you don’t spend forever inside the protagonist’s head pondering the rights and wrongs of a situation, the reader is given the facts and moved on quickly. This is one of the book’s strongest points, there is little wallowing, little reflection and that gives the reader a chance to use their own moral code to see the events as they happen.
It’s an understated book which is real quite beautiful.