2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
"Families are like sea anemones, quick to close.",
This review is from: The Promise Of Happiness (Paperback)
Justin Cartwright always writes well about family life. In The Promise of Happiness he shows it with its ups and downs, joys and disappointments. Sometimes the feeling is that there are more disappointments than anything else.....
After many years of marriage Charles and Daphne Judd find they have less and less in common. Their daughter Juliet has just been released from prison in Ohio and will soon be home, still hurt by the fact that her father never once visited her in prison. Their younger daughter Sophie is at the end of a drug-fuelled few years and in a relationship with a man twenty years her senior. Son Charlie's internet business is thriving and he is living with "smouldering beauty" Ana. A wedding is being arranged - the only problem being that Charlie is no longer sure that he actually loves Ana. So potentially this is a family on the brink of disintegration. But, as Cartwright points out, families are like sea anemones, quick to close.
The narrative is particularly interesting the way in which we are given wrong, or incomplete information and the wider picture is only revealed much later on. Juliet seems to have coped well with prison life but later the real horror of her time inside spills out. Sophie's drug-taking is made to sound almost cool - then the reality of it all is revealed.
I liked the way Cartwright doesn't tie up all the loose ends and spell everything out to the reader. Some gaps are left that we can fill in for ourselves.
Perceptive and funny - and with a redemptive ending (well, sort of!)