Friday, February 10, 2017

more ink...

It’s a very proud moment when your daughter has her first novel published – especially when it’s been received by those who ‘know’ about these things with some acclaim.
But, of course, there comes the time when you actually read it for yourself...
I’m not particularly a ‘fiction’ person and I can’t actually think that I’ve read a YA (Young Adult) book before. Wouldn’t it be awful if I loathed it!?
Well, huge relief, I finished it this morning… and I loved it.

I’m not going to spoil things for you and so I’ll just repeat some of the words on the book’s cover: “Imagine a world where your every action, your every deed, is marked on your skin for all to see…”.
Yes, it’s a YA novel almost written in the form of a fable (I’m sure Alice would disagree!), but I also think it could be interpreted as a profound reflection or metaphor (for young adults and adults alike) of what’s happening in the world today. It’s about truth, wisdom, loyalty, justice, love… it’s about fears and taboos; it’s about society and who we are; it’s about greed and power; it’s about belief; it’s about conformity; it’s about passion and beauty; it’s about integrity and honesty; it’s about the future.
Yes, it might ‘just’ be a YA novel for goodness sake(!), but it also spoke to me about such matters as society’s attitudes post-Brexit, what’s happened in Syria and even Mr Trump!
For me, the novel’s transparent world (where your every action is marked on your skin) reminded me of the virtual facebook world - where we can choose to post stuff that allows us to come across as being an enviable ‘good guy’ or ‘the perfect couple’ (complete with happy family photos, news about our latest wonderful world cruise and the like). The difference is that, with facebook, we can also choose to hide our true beliefs and characteristics (and the details are forgotten within a couple of days).

I always knew that Alice could write (and isn’t it wonderful when someone’s childhood dreams really do come true!), but I didn’t realise that she had such a gift for storytelling. I even cried at the end (I’m always crying these days… and feel a bit like Keith Brymer Jones, the judge on TV’s “Great Pottery Throw Down”, crying as he marvels at the achievements of a particular contestant!) - partly because of the simple beauty and power of the story, but also because of a realisation that “oh my goodness, she really has done it… and she’s bloomin’ good too!”.
As a friend on facebook said: “you must be very proud”.
You bet.

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