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Thursday, 4 June 2020

#BookReview GROWING UP FOR BEGINNERS by CLAIRE CALMAN


ABOUT THE BOOK


It’s not easy being a grown-up, but at 47, Eleanor hoped she’d be better at it by now…

But when Eleanor waves her daughter off for a gap-year trip, she finds herself stuck as a satellite wife, spinning in faithful orbit around domineering husband Roger, with only a stash of hidden books and her brilliant but judgmental father Conrad for comfort.

Andrew isn’t mastering the art of growing up either. When he finds his belongings dumped on the drive, although he may not understand women very well, even he can see that this looks like some kind of hint… and so moves back in with his parents.

Backing onto Andrew’s parents lives artist Cecilia, always ready to recount tales of her innumerable ex-lovers, whilst her daughters feel she’s like a misbehaving teenager.

But now four lives are drawn together by long-buried secrets of the past, and it is time for them all to grow up, before it’s too late.

A desperate decision … A lost letter … A powerful secret hidden for thirty years…


Praise for Claire Calman:

‘A poignant and beautifully articulated tale of love and loss, memory and forgetting, grief and guilt, new love and letting go. I was engrossed, often tearful, and finally, uplifted.’ Isobel Wolff

‘Simply wonderful. I was totally enchanted, devoured it in a day, and have been raving about it ever since.’ Fiona Walker 

PUBLISHED BY BOLDWOOD BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK



MY REVIEW

I found this book to be a really entertaining read, full of characters that you either find yourselves cheering for on their journey, alongside those who'd you clearly love to throttle!! The patience shown by some towards their 'loved' ones is worthy of a gold medal at times! But that's like life, and I think this book captures the little moments many of us face throughout our lives - searching for meaning, looking to move on and finding the strength to break free from what we have become accustomed to.

And that applies in spades to Eleanor, one of the main characters we follow, as she has been married to Roger for 20 years! I think I'd struggle to stay married to him for 20 minutes! In his world it is his way, or no way! And Eleanor has gone along with his way of thinking to keep his moods quieter for the sake of her children, and her own sanity. But as the children fly the nest, she is facing that time in her life when she has to put herself first, follow her own passions and how difficult she finds it to think of herself for a change. He really is something else when faced with his wife wanting her own little bit of happy!!

The book goes backwards and forwards in time, surrounding Eleanor and a number of other characters - Conrad, her father, Andrew, the man who is restoring a painting for Conrad, and Cecilia and her 2 daughters who are all quite different in personalities and outlooks.

There are many aspects to this story that made it a fascinating read - the things parents do for their children throughout their lives, the sacrifices, the selfish behaviours on both sides, and how people deal with overbearing people in their lives . Maybe they mean well, but the controlling influence they inflict on their nearest and dearest can have serious consequences on the mental wellbeing of those they love.

★★★

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