It seems that Lionel Shriver specializes in tackling difficult subjects, ones that we don’t like to talk about. I thought that after reading “We need to talk about Kevin”, which was about a postively explosive subject, I wouldn’t want to try any of Shriver’s other books.
But Lionel Shriver writes REALLY well and I had trouble putting this one down. Its a good thing school hasn’t started yet – I didn’t want to stop reading!
It took me a number of days till I even told my husband what the book was about. Who wants to read a book that deals with death and illness? When I tried to describe it I was worried about creating the impression that the book is full of clichés and platitudes.
I didn’t find it to be the case. There is something refreshing about airing these things. Lets face it, they are an inescapable part of life. And there is humor in the book! I did not feel depressed while reading.
In fact, at the end of the book (why didn’t the publisher place it at the beginnging?) there is a section where the author writes about the letters she has received from readers. Readers who say how they postponed reading it because it sounded intimidating and then were so glad they did.
I recommend it.
*** It took a while until it sunk in that the author is a woman. Lionel is not a name I’ve encountered for a woman anywhere else.