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  • Writer's pictureJulianne Negri

March Reading Roundup

Okay - not much to see here (although in my defense I accidentally put some March reads in February roundup and I did have a March manuscript deadline to meet.)

An Experiment in Love by Hilary Mantel

Even reading a minor Hilary Mantel is better than reading some other author's best work. Acerbic, dry, razorsharp and written in sparkling precise prose that makes you sit up and pay attention. Like a minor 7th chord. This is a coming of age story set in the sixties. Carmel narration focuses on the particular pitfalls of female friendships that, in this case, end in strange tragedy. The book explores how external societal pressures make the friendships almost impossible and the tragedy inevitable.

This YA book should be really sad - like schmaltzy sad - but it manages to be darkly funny and deeply moving instead - because Brian Conaghan has brilliantly created memorable and believable characters who interact with hilariously dry northern wit. Bobby Seed is seventeen and the carer for his mother with MS and his younger brother Dan, who goes to special school. He is relentlessly patient with the burden. His mother is a larger than life character - a wisecracking toughie who loves 90's bands and John Hughes films. But the disease is destroying her and taking her away. Bobby's life gets complicated when he attends a support group for young carers that brings things into his life that he doesn't want to face. Then Bobby Seed's burden gets a whole lot heavier when his Mum asks him to end it.

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