The first of what we hope will become regular book reviews from members of our Flock, our private group on Facebook.
By Julie Williams.
I was lucky enough to be given an advance copy of The Sandwich Years to review. I say lucky, and how lucky I was.
It is heartbreakingly direct in its emotional honesty, truly poignant when describing past tragedies and wonderfully descriptive when painting word pictures of her travels around the world prior to settling down.
The writer, Alana Kirk, is also venally truthful in her stories about the shitty side of bringing up babies at the same time as providing care for a doubly incontinent adult. The telling of one mire-filled episode is particularly funny. The writer is skilled in bringing to the reader the feeling of being a part of her life. Her ability to impart her love for her mum and family is exceptionally honest.
The images invoked by each episode of emotional loss, or gain, are beautifully crafted and real, as is the character of the writer’s mum: I would defy anyone not to have a vivid mind picture of this amazing woman by the end of the book.
Whilst spinning life’s plates generally, more and more responsibility falls onto the writer’s shoulders as time goes on. From being a carefree wanderer with a secure professional future, she becomes a wife, a mum, a housewife, a carer, a business woman, as well as “wearing a lot of other hats” This tale of transition from daughter, to wife, to mother to fully formed adult is funny, sad, wise and energising. It avoids the pitfalls of self-pity and introspection that some books dwell on when addressing midlife angst.
The main thread through the book is love, accompanied by strength, passion duty, ambition and vulnerability. Just human stuff. A great read.
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