My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 3 days on and off
Pages - 274
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton
Source - Review Copy
Blurb from Goodreads
I am a mess of tears on the train. Can't remember the last time a book broke my heart so much... (Lucy Dillon on Away from You) Perfect for fans of Adele Parks and Maggie O'Farrell.
Since their youngest son, Teddy, was diagnosed with a life-defining illness, Anna has been fighting: against the friends who don't know how to help; against the team assigned to Teddy's care who constantly watch over Anna's parenting; and against the impulse to put Teddy above all else - including his older brother, the watchful, sensitive Isaac.
And now Anna can't seem to stop fighting against her husband, the one person who should be able to understand, but who somehow manages to carry on when Anna feels like she is suffocating under the weight of all the things that Teddy will never be able to do.
As Anna helplessly pushes Tom away, he can't help but feel the absence of the simple familiarity that should come so easily, and must face the question: is it worse to stay in an unhappy marriage, or leave?
This story centres around Anna's family, her husband Tom and her two sons Isaac and Teddy. Teddy has SMA type 2 and the book gives some education on it without being too heavy in medical jargon or clinical. The bulk of the story is the effect Teddy's condition has on them all, how they interact, cope and go about their days. How the attitude and choices of one impacts on the others and the actions that follow as a result.
I don't know if the author has any experience either with a condition like this or a loved one who has some similar condition. Despite it being a fictional story it has a very real voice on the difficulties of every day life, things we take for granted that someone with a chronic condition could have great difficulty with. Add into that the emotions, strain and focus each family member has, the mother who has to be superwoman, ensuring the rights and safety of her child. The husband who is the bread winner but feels like a spare part at times when it comes to the inner workings of his family and his relationship with his wife. And the brother Isaac, older but still a child himself living with everything revolving around and putting Teddy first at all times.
It is heavily focused on the relationships between the four main characters, marital difficulties, relationships and friendships with those outwith the inner family. Social interactions, those with medical professionals and the outer branch of professionals involved in Teddy's care. The story is multi narrative, all chapters are headed with the person whose view point we will be seeing it from so it is really easy to follow. There is a lot of emotion within the book, it tackles many issues and made for interesting reading, I do enjoy a book where medical conditions pop up. It took me a wee bit to settle into the different view points, easy enough to follow who it is but they have different voices and issues so a wee bit jumpy in some aspects. I did however enjoy the book, Langdale has a nice tone when writing and you can slip into the plot with ease. 3.5 stars for me this time, I have read her before and would read her again, as always my thanks to the publisher.
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