Wednesday, 10 December 2014

"Ignoring Gravity" by Sandra Danby

I recieved an ARC of this title, from the author, for review purposes...

Journalist, Rose Haldan is craving more.  A more successful career, a btter boyfriend and an improved family life.  Following the death of her Mother, herself and her sister come across some diarys hidden away in her childhood home.  Her father doesn't know anything about them and Rose begins to flick through the pages.  She is devastated to learn that her identity is now in question.  It seems she was adopted and her sister, Lily, was not.  This means they have no biological link and Rose struggled to cope with this information.  Suviving family and friends can only shed the barest of light to the events surrounding Rose's adoption , so she takes on the investigative task herself.  Is she really ready for what she may discover?

Sandra Danby has taken the age-old tale of adoption, and the lies that can often surround the event, and written a novel about discovery.  Discovery of lies, discovery of a new identity and discovery of a hidden past.  The chapters are divided amoung characters, with Rose and her sister, Lily, being the main players.  Rose is horrified to discover the truth about her parentage and does not seem to cope with the overall idea very well.  Almost immediately, she refers to her birth mother as Mum and the woman who raised her is virtually wiped from her memory.  I can understand a person stuggling to deal with the discovery that they were adopted, but I found it very hard to sympathise with Rose's dismissal of the mother she had known her whole life.  The search for the truth begins to consume Rose and her treatment of her existing family seems very harsh.  She knows her sister is struggling with fertilty and marriage issues and that her father has lost his job and, in turn, his role if life, and yet she keeps her distance from them.  She is an adult, but her manner suggests otherwise.  I could not connect with her.  She jumps into the search for her birth mother with no thought for the good life that she was given by her adopted family.  There was obviously a reason why she was placed for adoption in the first place, however weak, and she rushes her inquiries without thinking of the bigger picture.  Perhaps the fact that I have had expericence with adoption, from many angles, I took the novel to heart.  I just didn't like Rose. 

Sandra Danby has written about a topic that touches many people, using simple language and bringing in a romantic story alongside the main event.  The romance part was slightly unbelievable, as declarations of love appear after only a couple of dates and the perfectness of the relationship just didn't ring true.  I enjoyed the chapters written from Lily's perpective.  She was a great character, almost child-like in her innocence and her desire to have a child and please her husband gave her an almost Stepford Wife feel.   When she realises that life is not that perfect, she embraces the change whole heartedly and throws herself in to re-discovering herself.

Overall, a good debut but the approach to adoption was quite negative.  I would have liked a more balanced view...

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