smrc - Books 7 & 8 (G & H)

Author: Sara Eames

Date Published: Jul 23rd 2018, 9:07am

My G book was Ghosts by Adrian Plass. In many ways, unfortunately, this book was a disappointment. I think the main trouble was that I came to it with expectations of what it would contain. Let me say that I am an Adrian Plass fan - I grew up reading his Sacred Diary series - and was expecting a lot of humour in this book. This was not the case. Usually with an Adrian Plass book, I read it very quickly and spend a lot of it laughing out loud - this book was so different from what I was anticipating that it took the edge off the whole reading experience for me. I admit that it was probably my fault, due to my expectations but that doesn't diminish my experience in reading this book.

The premise for the book is that a man, David, who is mourning the death of his wife goes to a reunion of Christian friends. They all agree that over the weekend, they will share what scares them the most. The only reason that David agrees to go is that the woman hosting the event, Angela says she has something for him from his late wife. The story takes place over the weekend with each day (or part thereof) being a different section of the book. It is painful to read. There were a lot of tears shed - real ones by me I mean, not just the fictional characters - and not a lot of laughter. There are no real solution offered - probably because life isn't like that - and parts of the story (particularly the ghost story and the dreams experienced by David) do not seem to get any explanation or reasoning for their inclusion in the story. Maybe I missed the point.

All-in-all, this was not the book for me - I will stick with Adrian's books that are based on comedy rather than tragedy.

The next book in my challenge - H - was Hag-Seed by Magaret Atwood. This was a total contrast to the previous book and one I enjoyed much more. This book is a re-telling of William Shakespeare's The Tempest. Felix is the artistic director of the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival. His productions cause a stir and he is at the top of his game. He is betrayed by his younger protegee and loses everything. He ends up living in exile in a hovel, haunted by memories of his dead daughter and plotting his revenge. His chance to avenge himself comes 12 years later in the shape of a theatre course in a nearby prison.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book - there were moments of joy and sorrow - the characters were well-written and the plot moved at a steady pace. I was completely drawn into the story. Atwood gives good insight, through the writing tasks assigned to the prisoners, into the characters in The Tempest and also gives a synopsis of Shakespeare's play at the end of the book. This was a cracking read and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys something a little different.