Although it has been on my ‘one to read one day’ list, I had never actually got around to reading Sister by Rosamund Lupton, but I had heard really good things. So, when I saw that she had a new book out, I jumped at the chance to review it.
Afterwards is a story told from the point of view of Grace Covey, the 39 years old wife of a TV personality and mother to 8 year old Adam and 17 year old Jenny.
In the blazing heat of school sports day at Adam’s posh private school, black smoke suddenly starts billowing from the building and Grace realises with horror that both her children are inside. So, she does what any mother would do, she risks her own life to go in and save them. That’s what mother’s do – right?
Afterwards, she realises that although Adam has escaped pretty much unscathed, the same can’t be said for her and Jenny who (for different reasons) end up in comas.
The story then takes a quirky turn. The two of them become dismbodied spirits who trail around the hospital together, following their family as they try to find out what exactly happened to them, seeing their loved-ones unguarded as they think there is nobody around. Grace finds that she has to re-evaluate everything that she believed to be true about the people she knows, and it soon becomes apparent that the fire was probably not an accident – so are her family still at risk?
I absolutely loved this – I know that I really shouldn’t have. Some kind of ‘out of body experience’ shouldn’t make for a good book, but it really did. It was part detective story and part the story of a normal, run-of-the-mill middle class (probably Daily Mail reading) woman who has the opportunity to view her life from another angle.
This was the story of a woman who was really defined as ‘a mother’ and lived her life trudging along that rut. And it took an experience such as this to show her that she had been completely blind to the people around her – including to a certain extent, her kids! i think this is true of many women, they need to prove themselves to be such great mums that they forget to live a little, and sit up and soak the world and it’s people in.
I found the ending slightly cheesey, but definitely not enough to spoil the journey in any way whatsoever. And I wanted so much to know what happened to everyone next! I raced through the book as I enjoyed it so much, and when I reached the end, I felt a wrench as the characters were taken away from me and lost forever – they had all felt so real!
A unique story with a memorable voice often dealing with very delicate subject matters.