Top critical review
Don't be put off by the beginning.
on 9 April 2014
I almost abandoned this book not long after starting it. I was bored with what I thought was a long-drawn-out episode of an elderly widow thinking that a tiger was prowling around her house at night. To be honest, I still don’t understand why the tiger bit was relevant; the symbolism was lost on me.
However, I was glad I stuck with it because it became a decent read.
Ruth is a frail, independent widow living alone in an isolated house on a beach in Australia. Her two sons live far away and although they ring her fairly regularly, Ruth lives a lonely existence with just her cats for company. One day a charismatic woman walks up from the beach and informs Ruth that the government has sent her – free of charge – to be her daily help. From this point on the book becomes part thriller and part memoire as Ruth reflects upon her childhood, a youthful love affair, marriage and motherhood.
Although the book is sad in parts, it also describes a life well lived and is a reminder that love, kindness and contentment can sometimes be neglected in the search for personal happiness.