16 Aug 2015

MY REAL CHILDREN.

I first saw this on one of the blogs I visit regularly and straight away added it to my wish list. Only thing is I can't remember where I saw it and whether or not that blogger had reviewed it or merely featured it on their blog. So if you have reviewed it could you please leave a link in the comments box. Thank you. 



MY REAL CHILDREN by JO WALTON.

BACK COVER BLURB: It is 2015 and Patricia Cowan is very old. 'Confused today' read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War - those things are solid in her recall. Then that phone call and ... her memory splits in two.

Was she Trish, a housewife and mother of four; or was she Pat, a successful travel writer and mother of three? She remembers living her life as both women, so very clearly. Which is real - or are both just tricks of time and light?

My Real Children is the story of both of Patricia Cowan's lives - each with its loves and losses, sorrows and triumphs, its possible consequences. It is a novel about how every life means the entire world.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1- VC:2015}: "Confused today," they wrote on her notes.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 196}: She was pleased with the stairlift, but horrified when she saw the double bed in Pat and Bee's bedroom. Too late, Pat realized she should have dissembled. There were four bedrooms - the girls shared one, and she should have pretended that she slept in what was the guest room. 

SOURCE: A Blogoversary win courtesy of the lovely Alexi over at Alexi's Books & Such  who very kindly sent me not only the book but the Pirates Of The Caribbean #4: On Stranger Tides DVD. You are right Alexi, you really can't have too much of Johnny.

MY THOUGHTS: Far from being sci-fi - the New York Times is quoted as saying '.... told through the science fictional conceit of alternate realities, Ellen Kushner as 'a novel for grown-ups, even ones who think they don't like science-fiction' - if pushed I'd personally describe this as as more of what is commonly known as 'slipstream' than sci-fi.

A novel with the same eventuality but two different histories. Told concurrently, alternating chapter by chapter, My Real Children is the story of one woman (Patricia), two identities (Patsy/Pat, Tricia/Trish), two differing relationships (that with husband Mark/lover Bee). 

Not nearly as confusing as it sounds. If you can picture the movie The Wizard Of Oz and then picture it as if not only had it shown Dorothy travelling to Oz down the Yellow Brick Road with the Scarecrow, the Tin Man Man and the Lion BUT also concurrently shown her (here known as Dot) travelling to Oz down the, I don't know, the Pink Tarmac Street with the Clown, the Sliver Woman and the Tiger you'll get some feel for the way in which the novel is written.

A novel that whether told from Pat or Trisha's perspective is a well told, occasionally very moving, story of what is essentially an ordinary, indeed mundane life. The social issues/insights (feminism, Gay rights pre 1970 included) that the author so expertly weaves into the plot making this the read that it is. 

Definitely a book you might like to consider should you be looking for something different even if ultimately this is a book that tries to do too much. The twisting of the timeline/actual details of real events such as the assassination President Kennedy annoying. And as for the ending? Disappointing to say the least. 


11 comments:

Barbara Fisher said...

Oh Tracy, I was all set to get this one until you said the ending was disappointing - what a shame! I might still try it because I love the concept and would perhaps enjoy most of it.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I bought this one after seeing it on a blog (don't know which one either! LOL), but haven't read it yet.

I do like the sound of it...maybe I should move it up on my list, even though you were disappointed at the ending.

Thanks for sharing.

Kelly said...

The premise on this sounds fascinating and I was seriously considering it as a possible book club selection until I got to your final sentence. Something like this truly does need a good ending, so now I'm not so sure I want to read it.

Melliane said...

Oh yes I reveiewed this one and I'm glad to see you had a good time with it. It as quite different.

Suko said...

Tracy, congrats on your blogiversary win! Thank you for your honest review of this "slipstream" book.

Brandi Kosiner said...

Sorry to hear that it had too much going on

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds fascinating. I have always like alternate and multiple reality type books. When handled correctly they can be riveting. When in very good hands they can be really serious stories that tell us a lot about life.

Too bad that you found the ending disappointing.

Tracy Terry said...

A novel well received on various other sites, please don't be put off by my finding the ending disappointing. Each to their own, you may well enjoy it.

Karen said...

This book doesn't sound like it's for me but seems like something my mother in law would enjoy.

Karen @For What It's Worth

Gina R said...

Wait wait wait. Disappointing? But it sounds so promising? Hmm. I'll have to think about it. I've read a book or two that fall into this category as well. One was a hit and the other a miss. Thanks for the share!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I too, was looking forward to adding this book to my list. That is until I read a little further and realised that it was being represented as a science fiction story with a twist and I'm afraid that I switched off at that point, as the only two genres with which I simply cannot connect, are science fiction and fantasy.

I also hadn't come across the term 'slipstream' fiction before, so when I checked out the official definition and read it in conjunction with the remainder of your review, I began to waver back towards giving it a try, which is where I am still at!

As always a purely personal and honest review, which is just the way I think it should be and what I like to read :)

Yvonne