Sunday, 19 January 2014

My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher

My Sister Lives On The MantelpieceTen-year-old Jamie hasn't cried since it happened. He knows he should have - Jasmine cried, Mum cried, Dad still cries. Roger didn't, but then he is just a cat and didn't know Rose that well, really. Everyone kept saying it would get better with time, but that's just one of those lies that grown-ups tell in awkward situations. Five years on, it's worse than ever: Dad drinks, Mum's gone and Jamie's left with questions that he must answer for himself.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. But I didn't.

The book is centered around ten year old Jamie who after his Mum leaves his family for another man, his father decides that they will move up North as far away from London as possible. His family are a complete mess even though it has been a few years since the incident that happened. Jamie has two older sisters, Jasmine and Rose and a few years before, whilst they are in a park in London, a bomb explodes, taking Rose's life with it. Naturally, this destroys the family and gradually tears them apart. One thing that I found was reflected particularly well was the grief that this family had succumbed to. Obviously, death is a very difficult subject to talk about for most people and Annabel Pitcher showed how much each member of the family had changed and been affected by Rose's death and it was heartbreaking to read that.

As for the characters in this book, I wasn't that impressed. Honestly, I don't remember that much about the characters because it is actually a year since I read this but I know that they were very cold and I found them hard to like in any way. Out of all of them, I definitely warmed to Jasmine the most, she was mourning Rose quietly and she stuck by Jamie even when their father got to his worst. I found it really heartbreaking how much hope Jamie had when it came to his parents, he wanted desperately for his mum to turn up for his birthday and his parents evening and is distraught in both scenarios. He also hopes that his Dad will stop drinking. 

Jamie's father was a really interesting character as alcohol is his coping mechanism for trying to accept his daughter's death, and he is the one who has been the most deeply affected by the passing of Rose. Sadly he can't see how the alcohol is effecting his children and so gradually becomes worse and worse, meaning the drinking continues. That is one of the key themes throughout this book, as was racism. Jamie becomes friends with a girl named Sunya, but since the terrorist attack took place that killed Rose, their father has become racist towards anyone who is Muslim because he believes that it was their race that killed his daughter. This means that Jamie doesn't want to tell his Dad that he has made any friends as he knows it will bring up many underlying issues they have within the family.

From my review I feel like I have given this book a couple of stars more than I actually think as the main floors lied in the plot. The main problem for me was the writing style - there were no speech marks - yes, it was still apparent who was talking most of the time but I feel that by writing like this it seems like one long speech with no pauses. It didn't feel real, it didn't feel any more like a book than it did an outburst of angst. I started this book of really enjoying it, and thought it could be a somewhat magical book, but as it went along I felt that a lot of that magic was lost.

Holly x

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