Thursday 26 July 2018

Someone by Alice McDermott

At around 200 pages, this little book called out in the massive pile of books I need to get through in my TBR pile. "Read me. I'm good, I won't take up too much time or space," it said. "And you'll enjoy me."

But it took a while. I tried the first few pages, and couldn't get into the story - I kept going back and re-reading, and thought that if I continued in this vein, this would be the only short book that I somehow doubled in length, because I re-read everything. 

Marie is the girl we meet on the steps on page one, where she has a memorable encounter with Pegeen, who tells her how and why she is called fool, "amadan". We meet Marie's parents and her studious brother, her friends, and the other adults in this NY neighbourhood. Each encounter tells a little story by itself, and they build and merge, and intersect, just like life does, until Marie is an old lady, and the problems of "will he like me?" and "can I trust you?" become "is there medication for that?" and "please don't leave me".

It's always good when a recommendation works - even if it's a dicey first 20 or so pages.But this little book did pack a powerful punch, and the stories,  and the story were succinctly and masterfully told by an expert in her craft.

Written in 2013, look out for it in a second-hand bookshop, you won't be disappointed.

4 stars


You may also enjoy Anne Patchett's Commonwealth (or Bel Canto). Or Blue Shoe by Anne Lamott?

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