Happy Easter! I’m having a very well behaved Easter this year. Not a single chocolate egg in sight. Not out of choice mind, I just haven’t been able to get out to get any this year due to quarantine and I’m sure they’re not considered an essential purchase. I have however indulged in this latest read today.
Teenager Charlotte Jackson leaves her family devastated when she deliberately steps in front of a bus and ends up in a coma. Her parents Susan and Brian don’t have an idea why Charlotte would do such a thing but Sue sets off on a mission to find out.
Sue finds Charlotte’s diary and reads some disturbing entries that prove to her that there is a lot about Charlotte’s life that she doesn’t know. She’s forced to start investigating Charlotte’s life by talking to her friends, boyfriend and people she never expected she would be speaking with. This investigation brings Sue’s past right to the present and she is confronted with events from her history that she’d rather have left where they were.
General Thoughts 🤔
This was an intense read and I actually found it quite difficult to read at times. I can’t tell you how much empathy I felt for Sue throughout this book. She seemingly had a great life and it all gets tipped upside down. What was the kicker for me was that she went through all of it on her own. Due to her previous mental health problems, nobody seemed to take her concerns seriously which meant she felt cautious about asking for help from anyone that could have assisted with her investigation.
There are some pretty heavy going subjects in this story but unfortunately very real topics. It’s all too easy to judge from the outside and ask questions like why did she not leave him? why didn’t she ask for help? why did she go back to him? I also found it interesting to read a story exploring the aftermath of abuse. It doesn’t just end once you get away from an abusive partner. Those tragedies can hover over you for the rest of your life and this is exactly what I think happened to Sue.
I think I’ve already gone someway to talking about how I felt about Sue. Despite having a loving family, she seemed so alone to me and that made me really sad. There were moments during the book that I did question her certainty that her own past had something to do with Charlotte’s accident, but it all made sense. It was everyone else’s doubts that were throwing me. I can’t help but feel like those close to her could have done much more to help her.
Brian being the one who I felt let Sue down the most. He seemed more interested in getting his wife onto medication than actually speaking to her and helping her work through her issues. I appreciate that they both would have been under a lot of stress due to their daughter’s coma, but I didn’t warm to Brian much at all.
Writing Style ✍🏽
The book includes diary entries from Sue’s past and I thought this was a really good way to tell the story. It wasn’t completely obvious that it was Sue’s past to begin with but it quickly comes together quite early on. It was these chapters that I found difficult to read as there is no holding back on the detail regarding the abuse.
I liked that the story follows Sue’s investigation and it is more about proving her theory rather than trying to work out what happened. The details are missing, but it was evident that Sue’s past had a part to play in Charlotte’s accident.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I liked that there were so many topics covered; mental health, abuse, secrets, lies, families. The story is gripping and once you’re in, there’s no putting this book down. I’m excited that I have a nice little backlog of C. L. Taylor books to work my way through.