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An amazing account,
This review is from: A Song for Jenny: A Mother's Story of Love and Loss (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. I used to mingle with people going about their everyday lives, for instance shopping, feeling so very strangely detached as my own family life took a distressing turn. But what Julie experienced is, without doubt, every parent's worst nightmare coming true - and something that must be impossible to make sense of in any shape or form.
It must have been an incredibly difficult book to write, yet it must also have been cathartic in some kind of way. I admire Julie for her courage to write this book and describe her raw emotions, painful moment by painful moment. It is a beautifully written book. Incredibly hard to read, yet easy to read in that it is written so very, very well. I feel honoured to have got 'to know' this young woman - Jenny - who, if I hadn't read Julie's book, I would only ever have thought of as one of the victims of 7/7.
This really is an extraordinarily moving book that MUST be read, if - as a parent - you can bear to do so.