After a heart-warming, tear inducing gem of a novel? Try Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
This book had me utterly captivated in Eleanor’s story by the end of the first couple of pages. It’s rare to find a book where you are so quickly immersed and invested in the story line. It centers around a young woman, called Eleanor, who on the outside appears to be completely fine, if a little odd and eccentric. As the story and her journey unravels, the reader realises that there is so much more to Eleanor and her past than initially meets the eye. The speed in which I warmed to this quirky and misunderstood character was remarkable – she had me giggling on the train with her unique outlook on life (much to the bemusement of my neighbour) and crying at the end. A real roller coaster of emotions and a book I will go back and read again and again. If you are looking for your next read, pick this one up! Best read of 2018 so far.
Into a harrowing, intense read? Try Die, My Love – Ariana Harwicz
This is a hugely intense and disturbing read. It’s based in the French countryside where a women is mentally unstable – wanting to embrace exclusion but at the same time belong. She feels trapped, stifled and repressed despite her family’s lenience and patience. Her erratic behaviour makes this quite an uncomfortable and harrowing read. It’s an incredibly raw piece of literature dealing with motifs of motherhood, womanhood, love and brutality. Not one for the faint-hearted but a gripping read.
Like a book with a strong female protagonist and based on true events? Try The Help – Kathryn Stockett
This book is about the relationship between white women living in the deep South in the early 1960’s and their domestic help. It’s set in a time where where black individuals had limited rights, were treated unequally in society and were very much suppressed. It is a deeply moving story about a white women’s (Skeeter’s) plight to shine a light on these inequalities and the mistreatment of the help, and to give black people a voice. The relationship that develops between Skeeter and the Black maids, Abilene and Minny is deeply moving – as is the story she comes to write.
Want a heart-rendering, page turner of a book? Try The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
This book tells the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant. Skillfully written and masterfully crafted, this novel is set in a country that is being torn apart. It demonstrates the power of reading, betrayal, and the possibility of redemption and forgiveness. It explores father-son relationships, family, love, and friendship in an emotionally gripping, powerful but also incredibly tender way. A 2018 must-read.