About the book
When Mark Darling is fifteen years old, he is the golden boy, captain of the school football team, admired by all who know him. Until he kills his best friend in a freak accident. He spends the next decade drifting between the therapy couch and dead-end pursuits. Then along comes Sadie. A mender by nature, she tries her best to fix him, and has enough energy to carry them both through the next few years.
One evening, Mark bumps into an old schoolfriend, Ruby. She saw the accident first hand. He is pulled towards her by a force stronger than logic: the universal need to reconcile one’s childhood wounds. This is his chance to, once again, feel the enveloping warmth of unconditional love. But can he leave behind the woman who rescued him from the pit of despair, the wife he loves? His unborn child?
This is a story about how childhood experience can profoundly impact how we behave as adults. It’s a story about betrayal, infidelity and how we often blinker ourselves to see a version of the truth that is more palatable to us.
About the author
Angela Jackson is a former psychology lecturer. Her debut novel The Emergence of Judy Taylor won the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award in 2013 and was Waterstones’ Scottish Book of the Year. She lives in Edinburgh.
Thank you Hannah Hargrave at Lightning Books for my copy of the book in return for a fair and honest review.
The book has a shocking start in which Mark briefly explains his back story. We then join Mark, who is trying to be a comedian, married to Sadie, working full time to pay for expensive IVF treatment and living in a house that is falling down around them.
Mark does not appear to be happy with his lot, he is struggling with ageing and the burdens of adulthood, when he bumps into an old friend from school Ruby. This immediately transports him back to school and the accident that killed his best friend as she was there.
I was not sure whether I liked Mark or not. I thought he seemed quite immature and unfulfilled, his friends are still single and he does appear to be very uncontent with his life. Although he has been through a lot and keeps a lot hidden. I really felt for Sadie and I was worried about her and the pregnancy. He made me really angry at times.
This is a detailed look at life and all the baggage that we carry throughout it and how that impacts on the decisions that we sometimes make. This book evoked a lot of feelings in me from empathy for him, not having his own family, his losses and anger when he starts to cheat on Sadie.
His job begins to suffer and as Sadie approaches the end of her pregnancy she is still unaware of his cheating. He becomes more and more dragged into his deception and he begins to feel the effects in more ways than one.
This is an interesting read about relationships and a really close up look at the effects that events in life can have on a person. It was my first book by the author but I really enjoyed the writing style and how up close and personal you get to the characters and their lives.
One I will be recommending if you like a strong character based story which will evoke many feelings as you progress into the story. It is compelling and honest I really enjoyed it.
4.5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5