Saturday, 28 July 2012

Life, Death and Vanilla Slices by Jenny Eclair

Life, Death and Vanilla Slices by Jenny Eclair
Genre: Contemporary/Humour/Chick-lit
Age Group: Adults
Publisher: Sphere
Release Date: 5th July 2012
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 343
Source: Little Brown Publisher
Pre-order: $13 with free delivery

Poor Jean Collins. She stepped out into the road without looking and now lies broken in hospital. But what distracted her? And why was she carrying a box of vanilla slices, the cream cakes she only ever bought for special occasions? Jean's daughter Anne travels back up north to find out. But her mind is on her teenage sons in London - boys on the brink of becoming not very nice men. What damage could they do in just a few days? (Quite a lot, probably.) Meanwhile there are secrets waiting for Anne and Jean, back at the old family home. Secrets that were buried a long time ago ...Jenny Eclair is celebrated for her unflinching black humour and brilliantly sharp observations. In her extraordinary new novel, she has also created a compelling and heart-breaking family drama that feels as rich and honest as real life. - Book Depository
When I got this book I was expecting a fun, light read with lots of LOL moments. I was wrong. There was some LOL moments but behind the humour there was a dark, heart-wrenching story of a dysfunctional family.

It is about Anne and her mother Jean. Each chapter is from one of their POVs. I found this really worked because while Jean was in the coma, you were going through her old memories that she was thinking about while in the coma. Anne has two teenage sons and has to leave them behind while she stays in her mother's house and visits her at the hospital each day. You really get inside the heads of both these characters.

Through Jean's chapters you learn what it was like for her to be a young mother and the struggles she went through. You also found out what Anne was like when she was younger. Anne was also remembering her childhood memories with her mother and sister, Jess. In the present day, Anne never mentions a sister Jess, nor does her sons so the mystery of where Jess is now is constantly with you throughout the book.

I found myself feeling sorry for Jean at times and other times, for Anne. Though, there is a lot of humour in it too which I thought was great.

The only thing I would criticize about this book is that occasionally in Anne's chapters it would switch back her son's POV quickly and switch back. I found this annoying and unnecessary since at the end of the book there is a chapter or two from the POV of her son's. I also didn't like how everything was all resolved by the end (I'm not saying it was a happy ending), everything that was a little bit of a mystery to you throughout became very obvious and known at the end. I like some loose ends, though I know most people don't.

If you're looking for some family drama with a bit of humour, this for you!

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