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A Song for Jenny: A Mother's Story of Love and Loss Paperback – 20 Jan 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (20 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007250819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007250813
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 277,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A Song for Jenny is a raw and riveting account of a mother's anguish at her daughter's death" -- The Times

"...an extraordinarily moving memoir..." -- The Daily Mail

"...an unflinching book...Nicholson takes us into every mother's worst nightmare - the fruitless vigil, the DNA test..." -- The Sunday Times

"A Song for Jenny...examines intimately the terrain of that strange hostile land [of grief]: every exhausting hill and dangerous pothole, and conversely, every breathtaking viewpoint" -- Scotland on Sunday

About the Author

Julie Nicholson was the mother of Jenny, a gifted musician, who died in the 7/7 London bombings of 2005. She was also priest of two churches in Bristol, St Aidan's and St George's. Eight months after her daughter died Julie resigned from her position, unable to reconcile her grief and anger with her faith.

Julie continues to work with the church in a youth arts project. She lives with her husband Gregg in Bristol.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Durward Harris #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 29 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
On July 6th 2005, Jenny Nicholson had everything to look forward to. She rejoiced at the news when it was announced that London was awarded the 2012 Olympics, but she was looking forward to her own big event in 2006 - her wedding. At precisely 8.50 the next morning, she was killed by a bomb.

This book, written by her mother a few years later, is very touching and also fascinating. The story is interspersed with memories of good times that are not directly relevant to the story itself, bur help to relieve the tension.

None of us can really know how we would react in comparable situations, but from my very different personal experiences, I can agree with her on two things. One is that some setbacks are so big that they affect you for the rest of your life, even though that may not show on the outside. The other is that she was right to be wary of the media. While the media may mean well, they have their own agenda and invariably twist things round. I believe she did a radio interview and that would at least have given her some control. My own limited experience of the media shows that newspapers do what they like. I saw things in newspapers about me that were utter nonsense, even though they were supposedly based on what I'd said. At least in my case, it was only a minor story that most people would quickly forget. I wouldn't like to be part of a major story, especially having seen how the media work.

I hadn't planned to buy this book, but I'm glad I did. I spent some time as a London commuter in the seventies when there were other bomb threats. It's scary to think what might have happened.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ChrisD on 11 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
Having heard Julie on Radio 4 I wanted to know how her faith had helped or hindered in this time of loss. You soon find out that the 'loss' was, husband, daughter and finally job. The book is a beautifully written account of the period of time from holiday happiness, realisation of loss and finally funeral. I did not get a clear answer to my question 'had faith helped?' but, I asked myself 'how would I emerge from such a tragedy in my life?' It made me realise that all I have of value in my life is the people that I love and if at the end of reading 'A Song for Jenny' I work that little bit harder showing that love/value then it is was well worth the read. I hope there is a second book dealing with my question about faith, if there is I will buy that too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bev Mattocks on 27 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
Initially I was in two minds as to whether or not to buy this book; I wondered whether it would just be too distressing as its subject matter is every parent's worst nightmare. But I went ahead. And, during the first sitting, I devoured two-thirds of the book. To be honest, I found it difficult to put down. Yet sometimes its story and the emotions that were being conveyed were so powerful and distressing that I simply had to put it down and take a break. But then Jenny's - and Julie's - story compelled me to read on.

The time-frame for this book is small. Yet during this time so much happened; whole lives were unexpectedly changed and shattered, and Julie Nicholson describes almost every waking moment with such clarity that you can picture the scenes as they move painfully on from one to another. The book begins with a lengthy description conveying the sheer ordinariness of what was, initially, just another ordinary day. Gradually the events unfold, and Julie takes us through every chilling moment, from the initial passing anxiety at getting her daughter's voicemail every time she calls to the stark realisation that, by the end of the day, no-one has seen or heard from Jenny and - from this - to the unthinkable, the moment that every parent fears above any other.

Having lived through a trauma myself, as a mother, albeit it nothing as tragic and distressing as Julie's experience, there are certain things I could identify with. I, too, used to look at the world going on as normal outside our ordinary house wondering if anyone had any idea of the events that were being played out in our lives, behind the net curtains.
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