I’m really quite cross that I liked this; I’m feeling all sucky uppy because of it. The reason? Well the author Melissa Ford, is the owner of the Stirrup Queens Blog which is possibly the absolute default (along with Glow, can you have two defaults?) places on the internet for infertility/loss/associated pregnancy crap. It’s also home of the Stirrup Queen’s Completely Anal List of Blogs That Proves That She Really Missed Her Calling as a Personal Organizer. And you know, I did know about that site and that list, even before Freddie and certainly after, because I intended to submit to her yearly round up – but didn’t. And then her book, Life from Scratch, appeared free on my Kindle one night and I downloaded it and then happened to see a tweet a few days later which meant I realised it was HER book and then I submitted my blog to the list and then I friended her on Twitter and she friended me back because she’s nice and… and… and…
And now I’ve given her book 5/5 on Amazon and I feel like I’m sucking up to the popular girl in class.
Only I’m not. I don’t give away 10/10 or 5/5 easily. To get either you have to pass the read again/have on THE shelf/ recommend to Alison and then some criteria.
Life from Scratch is actually good enough, for me, to do all those things. But it did something else too, something that a book just has to be good for, something a book doesn’t need clever language or even clever ideas for. Something that a person telling their story, or a story with all their heart and soul can do.
It just touched me.
It’s a book about someone who is sad and a little self absorbed, going through a tough time and losing everything. She’s sad because her marriage is gone, she’s sad because she isn’t sure who she is or what she can do. She’d like children, though that isn’t a major theme. She doesn’t quite fit in her family, though she loves them. She’s just a little busy with her own self and sadness and a little blind and trying really quite hard to get back on her feet and not be dumb and to try new things (and new boyfriends) and she gets up and she gets knocked down and then… well… you have to read it.
Of course it also helped that it is a book about a woman with a blog. Heavens, what’s not to like? 😉
I’m not saying this is a brilliantly clever book (sorry Mel!) but it is a brilliantly touching book, especially if you’ve ever sat on your sofa and wondered if you could BE more lonely in a house where the person you love is just across the hall. It’s a brilliantly touching book if you’ve been so sad and so empty and somehow found yourself up and moving the next day. It’s like the book equivalent of not getting out of bed till you actually hate your bed so much you’d rather hoover. it’s the book equivalent of sobbing to Pretty Woman and then getting the hell out on a coach to 5k run.
And yes, knowing enough about the author to know that when she describes the softness of the foot of a child she wishes she was mothering, it is because she has simply ached to have a child, helps. It’s good to read a book knowing the author has been in the depths of where you are instead of secretly grumbling that it ‘isn’t like that’.
It’s a book with depth, and sunken depths, and hope and enlightenment. It didn’t teach me anything new about myself but it reminded me how much I’ve grown.
I guess that makes it a feel good novel.
But it also makes it good enough that it will get out of my Kindle and on to The Shelf at some point too.
DBM – you don’t really need to ask. You’ll cry, but with her.