13 Nov 2011



Gifted artist Rachel Kelly is a whirlwind of creative highs and anguished, crippling lows. She's also something of an enigma to her husband and four children. So when she is found dead in her Penzance studio, leaving behind some extraordinary new paintings, there's a painful need for answers. Her Quaker husband appeals for information on the internet. The fragments of a shattered life slowly come to light, and it becomes clear that bohemian Rachel has left her children not only a gift for art - but also her haunting demons.
....... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Rachel was woken by a painting or, rather, by the idea of one.

MEMORABLE MOMENT(Page  186): Not that he had ever overcome or even withstood his mother. He had simply withdrawn from the field.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: I did enjoy this but can't see myself wishing to re-read it any time soon so no this isn't one for the shelves.

I don't think I've ever been more disappointed with a books ending, there were so many loose ends that I so wanted answering that I could have literally cried.  

Apart from that .......  A really good read, beautifully observed, well written and packed full of characters who had me laughing as well as crying, the author took a subject matter (mainly Rachel having Bipolar Disorder) that could have been depressing and hard work reading and made it seem realistic (all too realistic in places)and very readable without being unduly harrowing. Oh and I learnt an awful lot from it, not only about Bipolar Disorder of which I have scant knowledge but also about the beliefs of the Quaker community.

Written from the viewpoint of several different people Notes From An Exhibition does tend to jump around a fair bit but the author seems to do this with such seamless ease that it somehow only manages to make each characters 'story' more distinct and powerful.

A book I would recommend but perhaps not for those who like to read books purely to escape, this is far too real for that.

A charity shop buy, this was the 87th book read for my 100+ Reading Challenge.


Kelly said...

This was sounding so good until you mentioned the ending. I'm one that likes my loose ends tied up all nice and neat, or at least where I can make reasonable assumptions. It sounds like there are too many unanswered questions at the end.

naida said...

The premise sounds good Petty, but too bad about the loose ends. That would bother me.

Vivienne said...

I have had this book for ages and still haven't read it.

joan said...

great review i read this book ages ago and your review makes me want to pick it up and read again sometime i enjoyed it (i think)

Alexia561 said...

Sounds interesting, but I'm another reader who likes loose ends to be tied up nice and neat! Enjoyed your review, but I don't think this one is for me.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

This one sounds interesting. I knew from the blurb it was going to be on bi-polar disorder. Might be a great book for someone who has that or with a family member. Glad you enjoyed it.

Jenners said...

That is too bad about the ending … I know what you mean when one leaves too many loose ends -- it is frustrating!

Suko said...

This does sound good, mainly because of the characters, but I know I wouldn't care for all the loose ends either--too much like real life!

Monalisa said...

Your review just got me up with excitement. I should get this book asap.

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

never even heard of it.
thanks, i might try to read this.
i totally agree with you...leaving many loose ends...it is really frustrating.

fabulous review, tracy!

betty xx