Sunday 16 June 2019

If You Were Here by Alice Peterson

If You Were HereIf You Were Here by Alice Peterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Simon & Schuster UK

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

‘I can toast to my future, but the thundercloud over my head, the threat of a storm, will follow me like a shadow wherever I go. The truth is, I have a potential bomb in my bag, and who knows when or where it will go off’

When her daughter Beth dies suddenly, Peggy Andrews is left to pick up the pieces and take care of her granddaughter Flo. But sorting through Beth’s things reveals a secret never told: Beth was sick, with the same genetic condition that claimed her father’s life, and now Peggy must decide whether to keep the secret or risk destroying her granddaughter’s world.

Five years later, Flo is engaged and ready to pack up her life and move to New York with her high-flying fiancĂ©. Peggy never told Flo what she discovered, but with Flo looking towards her future, Peggy realises it’s time to come clean and reveal that her granddaughter’s life might also be at risk.

As Flo struggles to decide her own path, she is faced with the same life-altering questions her mother asked herself years before: If a test could decide your future, would you take it?

My Review

Told from three points of view, Peggy is the granny, Beth the mother and Flo the granddaughter. Peggy nursed her husband as he battled through Huntington's disease not telling her daughter. Now Beth and her husband are gone Peggy discovers Beth knew and Flo has a 50/50 chance of getting the condition. She never told Beth and now she has to battle with telling Flo and the consequences. The chapters alternate between Peggy and Flo, we hear from Beth in diary entries from a kid to up until she died.

This book is emotive and totally pulls at the heartstrings. In Peggy we see the role of the carer, the struggles she faced in the time with her husband, love, devotion and watching this condition take away a piece of the person in different ways. In Beth we see the kid watching her father become unwell and how it affected her growing up and then her own experiences. Flo is oblivious to everything, living with the man of her dreams and ready to uproute before everything comes crashing down.

I think with this book it is the dimensions to it all, living with the condition, living with someone knowing they have it, growing up with it but not knowing and how that is viewed through a youngsters eyes. The impact it has on relationships, both families and partners. And the personal battle, journey and emotions if you had a bombshell like this dropped on you, you may potentially have a life changing condition and you are helpless to do anything about it. Would you find out or live in ignorance? No matter what you choose you also cannot control how the people in your life will react and that was a huge eye opener, none of us know what is around the corner.

Books like this make me want to read up more on the condition especially when treatments are mentioned and research. There is still so much work that needs done and in the last few years they have made some great progress, it is a fascinating read both this story and the academic articles out there. I do enjoy a book that provokes an emotive response but also makes you want to go and look into the condition the book centres on. My first dance with this author, it won't be my last, 4/5 for me this time.

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  1. This book sounds very touching. Excellent review, Lainy.

  2. One for the wish list ... along with a box of tissues.

    This sounds a touching story, the very fact it makes you want to read more as a result of something in the book a plus.

  3. I had a family friend with the condition. I don't know if it would hit too close to home but it sounds like something I'd enjoy... I think. ;) *grabs tissues*


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