The premise of this story fascinated me, so I just had to read it. It sounded a bit Picoult-esque actually, which made it all the more intriguing. I've read a few good family drama books lately and I was curious to see how this one would compare.
The book focuses on single father Will, who has raised his twin daughers Kay and Georgie ever since his wife walked out on them when the girls were babies. Will doesn't have many prospects but he has devoted himself to his children all his life and its when the girls get a bit older and they *both* suffer kidney failure that he may have a heartbreaking decision to make... if he can save one of his daughters, then which one should he choose?
There are many aspects to this novel that I enjoyed and that made it such a compelling read. Firstly, there is a good backstory given as to the nature of the relationship between Will and his wife leading up to the birth of the twins, so their story is fully retold and you learn what has occurred in the past and what caused the fracture of their relationship. Sometimes these kind of recaps can read as a bit trite or be dull and overlong, but it worked well here. The story itself is also told from different characters perspectives- including Georgie's, which makes a lot of sense and allows the reader to understand more about the twins relationship with their dad which isn't always easy, as well as the effects of their illness.
Another factor that I thought fitted was that there was a good emphasis in the different personalities of the twin's right from the outset of the novel. Georgie starts off as a generally horrible human being and as being really awful to her father. I didn't like her very much if I'm honest, but at least she wasn't a wishy washy character. None of the characters in this book can be described as two-dimensional, which is a good thing. In my opinion, the book was filled with completely dysfunctional characters, all of whom are damaged in their own way- not nicey-nicey ones, which makes it more human and real. Grim situations are featured, from kidney dialysis in a hospital to Strangeways Prison. There's a mention of drugs and abuse and its really gripping in places. However, I did think some of the sex scenes between the various characters were a little bit much and were only put into this book for effect- they just didn't seem overly necessary- at least not all of them!
The book is quite blunt in places, sad in other parts and in others I was actually left visibly wincing at the situation the family had been placed in and the tough choices they needed to make. The author has managed to really show tension and turmoil in a very successful way. I really felt for Will who grew stronger and more determined as the story progressed. The story is also funny in other chapters though (which sounds a bit strange to say given its heavy subject matter), particularly with the addition of `genius' private detective Preston. He is the light comic relief that this novel needed and he is probably my favourite character out of all of them- with his many layers and odd quirks. He keeps this novel from being too bleak.
My only real complaint is that the twins own relationship isn't really expanded upon very much and that they weren't portrayed as being particularly close like you would probably expect, particularly given what they have been through together. You also seem to get to know Georgie quite well, but not Kay. It's also a bit of a stereotypical cliché to say that one twin was depicted as nice and the other as a little bit nasty, but they were. These are my only real gripes about this novel and they are only minor ones yet didn't detract from the storyline itself in any particular way and I still found it a brilliant read with a really good twist that I didn't see coming.
Ultimately this is the story of desperation, sacrifice and a father's unyielding love for his daughters. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it as a book to get absorbed in, particularly if you like stories with a bit of real, emotive drama.