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This review is from: The Things We Never Said (Kindle Edition)
This is an absolutely superb read. It is a story told in two halves with each chapter alternating between the two strands of the story, which then eventually dovetail together.
The first story is that of Maggie, who we first meet as a mental health patient in 1964. Maggie has no recollection of her life before entering the hospital and her story is divulged as she slowly starts to remember when we find out that she has had to make some very brave decisions which will affect her and others for a long time to come. It is not a pretty read, the events that brought her to this point in life and her treatment in hospital are very moving and quite harrowing at times.
The second story is that of Jonathan and takes place 40 years on. We meet him at a time when everything is going wrong in his life including, but not exclusively, problems at work and his father's death and the strain everything is putting on his marriage have really brought him to a low point. The only thing he has to look forward to is the birth of his first child. There are times in the book where you feel that he isn't getting the support he needs from his wife Fiona, but as a pregnant woman she has her own set of priorities. As the book says, when a woman is pregnant, she is the most important person in the world so when, on top of everything else, an unexpected visitor arrives with some quite shocking news that will have far reaching implications for Jonathan, he really feels he is on his own.
As I read the book, moving towards the point where the two stories meet up, I could appreciate how well the author had plotted this suspense filled story, which is very unusual, poignant and thought provoking. Like a jigsaw puzzle, each part of the storyline very neatly fits together until eventually you see the whole picture, with no spares.
There are some very serious issues in the book, which are dealt with in a very matter of fact way, not too melodramatic, but just right. It wasn't a book that I could sit and read in one go, partly because I didn't want it to end, but I kept having to put it down to catch my breath and take it all in.
It really is a special read, about parenthood, love, loss and mental health; one that I found very emotional and when it reached its very satisfying ending, I had to wipe a little tear away from my eye.