Here comes summer! And for Bury Library’s Readers Group that means a break over August before meeting back as usual in September. This seems like a good time to update you all with reviews about a few of our latest reads. As usual there have been mixed responses and we hope you will be encouraged to try them and see what you think for yourself.
The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards.
It’s 1964 and Dr David Henry finds himself delivering his wife’s twins. Relieved, he sees that his son is born healthy, but recognises the signs of Down’s Syndrome in his daughter’s face. In a split-second decision that will haunt their family forever, he asks the nurse to take his daughter away.
This title prompted a very active discussion around the subjects of Down’s Syndrome, adoption and family secrets. The general consensus was that it was a good read that ‘challenges preconceptions’. However some group members felt that the characters were a little shallow. The writing was described as ‘poetic’ and a couple of members felt that it would make a good holiday read.
Hal Treherne is a young and dedicated soldier on the brink of a brilliant career. Impatient to see action, his other deep commitment is to Clara. When Hal is transferred to the Mediterranean, Clara, and their baby daughters join him. But action changes Hal and he soon becomes more and more distant.
This book was enjoyed by the majority of people who read it but be warned: there are parts that highlight the brutalising effects of War and these sections proved uncomfortable reading for some of our members. Described as a book that was ‘slow to get going’ and ‘better in the second half’ it is perhaps to be approached with patience.
In India in the mid-1970s India, four unlikely people are thrown together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a ‘State of Internal Emergency’. Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances, and their fates, become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen.
Well this book provoked a huge reaction! Even though it was described as ‘harrowing’ and ‘horrific’ most members of the group couldn’t put it down! Everyone agreed that it is written brilliantly with the style being ‘fantastically descriptive’. Even though the story looks at ‘the cumulative effects of trauma’ most of the groups readers were hooked from the start. Be warned you will need tissues and you may need counselling!
Have a good summer!
Nic (Reader Development Team)