This is my first selection for the 2nds Challenge that is being hosted by my friend Joy from Thoughts of Joy. The first book of Haigh’s that I read was Mrs. Kimble for my bookclub a few years back and I had really enjoyed it.
This second one had me on a bit of a rollercoaster I must say. It started out really good for me. The family portrayed in the story was at the beach for a family vacation. The family dynamics were explained a bit and then ended on the family finding out that the daughter had Turner’s syndrome. This is a genetic condition that prevents kids from maturing-they are trapped in their kid bodies their whole lives.
The novel then fast forwards twenty years and this is where a bit of my discontent with it came in. All of a sudden we’re jumping into the lives of the whole family without any explanations of what happened in between. Eventually it does go on flashing back and forth with little glimpses into this past time and we learn some of what had gone on. I guess I was just a bit disappointed that it didn’t carry on from the vacation a bit more before going ahead so far-it felt disjointed for me for a while.
That all being said I was pulled into the lives of these characters. The author does a good job of introducing the main characters; Frank (the father), Paulette (the mother), and the kids Billy, Scott and Gwen and then sucking us into their past and present lives. I was most drawn to Gwen and her issues with Turner’s syndrome and her family. It’s an awful struggle to remain in a child’s body your teenage and adult life-it comes with taunts and people always staring at you like you’re a freak. Another interesting character was Paulette-she was the type of mother who felt the need to control everything and ignore anything that didn’t fit into her idea of what was right throwing Gwen into turmoil quite often. She makes this statement that stuck with me, ‘for years, struggling to raise the daughter she’d expected to have, she had failed to see the one she’d gotten’. She had done this with all of her children. It was interesting to see her come to this realization and want to change things for the future.
There were parts of the story I could have done without-parts I felt really didn’t serve much of a purpose to the story but that could have just been me and how I took the book as a whole. I did enjoy it, especially towards the middle and end-it kept my interest and I did want to know what would happen to all these characters that I’d come to know so well.