- Author Sue Townsend
This is a really interesting book, I think. Not totally successful but quite a thought-provoking piece of work. It’s stacked full of sub-plots that confront a lot of issues - empty nest syndrome, falling out of love with your partner, affairs, racism, getting older, the fickleness of celebrity, and at its heart, just plain mental health issues.
I’ve seen some complaining about the abrupt ending of the book, and whilst I don’t mind how it ended, I can understand why it is irksome, because many of the characters and subplots feel unfinished. Did Brian and Titania get married? What happened to Poppy and who’s baby was it? Were the twins ever seen again? Why weren’t the parents informed about their activities?
I also have a slight issue with the family and their non-action with regards to Eva. I can understand them giving her some leeway, but eventually, I really do think they should have fought harder to get professionals involved. A couple of visits from a district nurse weren’t enough - particularly as Eva didn’t seem to have a firm reason for her actions, and also when she was sharing some of her more worrying thoughts. I do love how supportive Alexander was, though, especially when everyone else was impatient. He was a highlight character in a book filled with, for the most part, unlikable souls.