Thursday, 21 January 2010

'The Promise of Happiness'

Do you keep a note of the books you’ve read and what you thought of them? No! Well I do. I have just finished reading ’The Promise of Happiness’ by Justin Cartwright. Ann from my creative writing group gave it to me because she thought it was along similar lines to my novel. They both feature families, which are going through problems.

I really enjoyed the story, but I was a bit irritated at times by the way, the author switched tenses and used the omniscient voice. He knew what was going on in everyone’s head. The story is about a grown up family. Ju-Ju is the clever one… the one that makes everything tick, but she ends up in prison. The other members of the family, her mother (Daphne) and father (Charles) and sister (Soph) and brother (Charlie) all have problems dealing with the consequences. Each person evokes a lot of sympathy in the reader. Individual characterisation is strong and in Ju Ju we have someone who acts out of character for once in her life. The cause is of course Love, but her actions put her in a tough US prison for two years.

Soph has a sex and drugs life style, Daphne takes comfort in arranging flowers at the church and Charles is haunted by past events. Charlie is everyone’s nice guy. At the centre is Ju-Ju. Her story is well paced and her time in prison is revealing, for one thing we find out what a keista bunny is.

The story is about the strength of a family who reunite in the face of adversity. However, I would be interested to hear from anyone who reads this story about their view of the twist in Ju-Ju’s tale.

A good read and three stars ***

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