Monday, 1 December 2014

A song for Issy Bradley - Carys Bray

A blooming good read - one to make you sit up, pay attention and (very possibly) count your own blessings.  If you have a faith, you may find yourself agreeing with much that happens - if, like this reader, you have no faith, you may find yourself gasping in horror at the throw-away comments made by members of this particular church.

For this is the story of a family broken apart by the death of their youngest child, who dies so quickly, they have hardly noticed she is ill.  Claire, the mother, copes for a couple of weeks, and then goes into such deep depression that she will not leave her dead child's bed; Ian, an important man in the church cannot leave his church duties alone just for his family; and the remaining three children just have to find their way on their own.  The belief of this particular church is that every one of them, if they follow the rules, will reach Celestial Heaven and all will be well, so death is not a hardship - hence the comment of a sister of the church who comes to visit, when Claire says "Im sad...." says  "Oh! is that all?".  Claire's decline within the family is all important to the book.  The lower she sinks, the lower her profile, the more the others are affected. 

It was a hard book to read.  It hurt.  But although it may never be a classic in the accepted sense of the word, it is wonderfully observed, well written, and I felt that the author, an ex-member of the church in question, had a lot to offer by way of explanation - and achieved it for me.  It was a must-read.  It was unputdownable.  It was bitterly sad, but in parts made me smile - viewing their faith (or not) though non-tinted glasses was illuminating.  It may not be the prizewinner on the list in question but it certainly deserves to be read.