Book Reviews

My Real Children by Jo Walton

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List Price: £8.99


Paperback: 336 Pages.

Published: 05 March 2015 by Corsair

ISBN: 1472115635

EAN: 9781472115638

The day Mark called, Patricia Cowan’s world split in two.

The phone call.

His question.

Her answer.

A single word.



It is 2015 and Patricia Cowan is very old. ‘Confused today’ read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War – those things are solid in her memory. Then that phone call and…her memory splits in two.

She was Trish, a housewife and mother of four.

She was Pat, a successful travel writer and mother of three.

She remembers living her life as both women, so very clearly. Which memory is real – or are both just tricks of time and light?

My Real Children is the story of both of Patricia Cowan’s lives – each with its loves and losses, sorrows and triumphs, its possible consequences. It is a novel about how every life means the entire world.


5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars5.0 Stars  by Anne

What is reality anyway ?

This is a clever and elegantly written novel. Patricia is living in a nursing home because she has dementia. She struggles to remember how many children she has, what she did for a living or even how the home itself is laid out. Patricia has lived one of two alternate lives. In one life she makes one decision and in the other she chooses another. The result is two rich and complicated lives filled with joy and sorrow only one of which can be true but Patricia doesn't know which.

The author is clever enough to show us two lives which are neither all good or all bad. Patricia lives as Trish in one life and Pat in the other and she has different children and different results to her love life. The author tells the two intertwined stories using many of the same characters and fitting them well into the events of the last century. The book is not particularly fast paced but I found it gripping as I watched Patricia face many of the same things in society but treat them slightly differently in each life.

The book is very poignant as Patricia sits in her home waiting to see which of her children will come through the door. Are the children she remembers but don't exist any less real than those in this reality ? Is the love she shared and which makes her memories happy of any lesser value because it isn't real ? Will embracing reality betray the children of her mind ? Can she choose which is real and which isn't ?

Break out the tissues and enjoy sharing Patricia's two lives - a thought provoking and emotional story.

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