Charlie Lowry has a story to tell, a particularly New Zealand story: from her 1978 teenage pregnancy with its abortion or adoption dilemma, leapfrogging ahead to the arrival of the Covid pandemic.
It's all here with her parenting of her grandson Tommy (now off to university), the constraints of a Level 4 lockdown, and even the 2020 General Election with its euthanasia and cannabis referenda.
Poignant and appealing, this thoughtful story of family, choices and consequences, integrates real-life events of New Zealand past and present, perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of an evolving society. [Larger font]
This book generated a lot of discussion - several people had friends who they could recall dealing with similar issues in the seventies. We recalled the societal pressures and the shame. A couple of our readers did not find they could relate to the protagonist and her negativity. But on the whole, a provocative read and an extremely well-written novel.
Was rated by our group really well because of the thought provoking issues - especially abortion, but also euthanasia, adoption, consent, drugs and autism. Set in Wellington around Covid pandemic time made it all very relatable.
Our review stars ranged from 2 to 4.5. Some loved the story, one didn't bother to read it as she didn't think it would interest her. Obviously, with this diversity in opinions we had an interesting discussion on most of the topics covered in the book. We did agree that it was well-written but there were a few gaps in the narrative which also provoked some questions.
We agreed this is a good book and well worth reading, though it raises a number of difficult issues, particularly teenage pregnancy, adoption and abortion. We found the characters credible and often complex and thought the challenges of neurodiversity in a young man for him and for those close to him were very well-described. The Wellington context rang true. The book is unusual in that it deals with such recent events as Covid with its lockdowns and daily 1pm news, Jacinda and the 2020 general election and End of Life referendum, and (briefly)conspiracy theories. A truly NZ novel. Recommended.
An enjoyable and thought provoking book.