Monday, March 29, 2010

My Perfect Silence by Penelope Evans

My Perfect Silence by Penelope Evans.

Borrowed from my local public library.

*** "Intriguing"

From the inside cover: "'I was four when I killed my baby brother.' Rose can't even remember how it happened, but in the aftermath only her older brother Max remained the same. Beautiful Max, stepping in between her and a world that has changed too much. Rose needs him more thank ever when, at fourteen, she stops speaking. Twenty years on and the media has fallen in love with Max - and Max has fallen in love with Caroline. When Caroline is killed, suspicion inevitably falls on Rose and she once again looks to Max for protection from the harsh world. But will that be enough?"

I like reading a book whose story surprises me. This is one of those books. The author writes from Rose's point of view, and we go right back to the beginning, if you like, to when she is four years old, her baby brother is dead, and suddenly noone, not even her parents, looks at her the same anymore. We see Rose growing up, being sent to boarding school, dealing with the breakup of her parents' marriage and her mother's alcoholism. We never think to question Rose's narrative, because she is talking about her own experiences.

Towards the end of the book, we discover that Max has been keeping something from Rose; something that will shed new light on everything that she thinks she knows. By the time I got to the end of the book, I almost wanted to re-read it with my new knowledge, so that I could see everything clearly this time.

I seem to be on a bit of a roll, reading books with difficult themes, that are disturbing to read. This one is no different, with the inevitable dysfunction of a family in which a child is killed by another very painful to observe. Very occasionally I hear in the news a story in which a child accidently kills a sibling, and I always wonder if there's any way back from it. Is healing possible?

I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I hadn't just read some other difficult books before it. I usually do enjoy books that ask hard questions, and refrain from giving pat answers, but I think I've overdosed!

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