Sometimes there are four sides to a story – but which one will you believe?
The Richard & Judy Book Club Pick 2017
How could Lisa do this to her best friend?
Eight years ago Rosie and Lisa were best friends, they had been pregnant at the same time and their daughters were best friends……….that is until Lisa had an affair with Rosie’s husband Nick! Suddenly their worlds were blown apart, Daisy her daughter developed a very severe form of OCD and Max her son spent half his childhood trying to look out for Daisy. Rosie is shattered by the betrayal she had not seen it coming at all…..but then out of the blue 8 years later Lisa writes a letter saying she has cancer and she wants to meet Rosie to tell her something important.
This letter has an effect on several members of the family who are worried about what is about to be disclosed and the potential consequences if it is what each person fears. Opening old wounds that are still very raw, taking them back to the events of a summer holiday more than 8 years ago that changed all their lives forever.
The story is told from four different viewpoints – those of Daisy, her mother Rosie, father Nick and brother Max. Each one casts a different light on events and shows how easy it can be to interpret what happens in differing and often mistaken ways. The central characters have their own distinctive voice’s. From Daisy, we see how her OCD controls her, from Max we find out about the guilt he has been carrying around since childhood, from Nick we discover how he uses life to justify his weaknesses and from Rosie we see that she is unable to make new romantic attachments following being betrayed by the two people she trusted most.
It is interesting to see how the same event plays out differently in the eyes of each person involved, and exploring the way that we form memories and how memories shift and change over time.
I often found I couldn’t decide whose version to believe, whose memories are truly factual?
This book shows what devastation infidelity, OCD, cancer and lies can do to a normal family and the devastation of friendships and family relationships through deceit and betrayal, how it affects everyone, some a lot more profoundly than others.
Rosie is a cancer specialist so we get an in-depth look at cancer and it’s effect on all those who come into contact with it. The research that has gone into this book makes the characters very relatable, exploring the reliability of memory, the nature of mental illness, the realities of OCD, alcoholism and even self-proclaimed cancer healers!
It is from the self-proclaimed cancer healer that brings some light relieve to the book and provides us with some really good and funny dialogue between Nick and Gregorio who is treating Lisa with utterly bizarre therapies. At one point Nick describes him as a “human bonsai” 🙂
The complex relationships in families has been carefully written about and they are very believable, as are the causes and effects within the families and their relationships and the devastating consequences of betrayal and secrets. There are plot twists that are probably not so hard to guess but compelling none the less.
This book is dark, funny, complex and thought-provoking and there is so much here that pulls on the heart-strings. A lot of hurt, confusion and upset all from betrayals, and is an interesting look at how a parents actions can have a lasting effect on their children no matter how old they are.
Definitely not a lighthearted read but it is definitely the perfect book for a book club, the topics this book has delved into will cause a few different opinions and the ending will be different in everyone’s imaginations, as to what happened next. It would be interesting to find out what other people imagined after the book ended!
I am sure there will be a lot of us that can relate to this book and have been touched by some of the topics in one way or the other and everybody has secrets they keep hidden and things they regret having done! We all deal with things differently and I think that is what kept the book so compelling, seeing it from 4 different view points.