Friday, 11 May 2012
This is not Forgiveness - Celia Rees Review
Publication Date - 2nd Feb 2012
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Format reviewed - Paperback
Pages - 280
Everyone says that Caro is bad ...but Jamie can't help himself. He thinks of her night and day and can't believe that she wants to be his girlfriend. Gorgeous, impulsive and unconventional, she is totally different to all the other girls he knows. His sister, Martha, hates her. Jamie doesn't know why, but there's no way he's going to take any notice of her warnings to stay away from Caro. But as Jamie falls deeper and deeper under her spell, he realises there is more to Caro - much more. There are the times when she disappears and doesn't get in touch, the small scars on her wrists, her talk about revolutions and taking action, not to mention the rumours he hears about the other men in her life. And then always in the background there is Rob, Jamie's older brother, back from Afghanistan and traumatised after having his leg smashed to bits there. Jamie wants to help him, but Rob seems to be living in a world of his own and is increasingly difficult to reach. With Caro, the summer should have been perfect ...but that isn't how things work out in real life, and Jamie is going to find out the hard way. This taut psychological drama is the brilliant new novel from acclaimed Celia Rees.
This book is very deep in its storyline and what you think is a relatively nice, innocent story shocks you to the very core. Although this is quite a short book its packed full of various characters who I have to say are very well developed for the little time we know them. The three main characters are Caro, Jamie and Rob each one becomes a narrator at various points in the novel. I feel the most sorry for Jamie, he seems to be the victim in the novel but at the same time I found him a very weak character. The world is originally quite ordinary, which makes it a little boring to get through however this becomes all the more important when we discover the end result.
Rob is the most unsettling character, he is back from Afghanistan and sometimes his entries can be a little disturbing. It becomes a novel about political terrorism, extremism and the terrible effects of the war in Afghanistan. This is a very deep young adult novel with some very poignant political references. Caro is perhaps the bravest character, yet she is very naive, often playing with people's lives when there is no need to. I really liked the different points of view, however, sometimes it was little confusing who was speaking until you were around a page into each chapter. I think it would have been much better to title each chapter with the relevant characters name.
The reason I gave this novel three stars was because at the start it was a little slow, around 60% of the way through you find yourself hooked. The action becomes fast paced and as the reader you need to know what is about to happen, the ending as I have already said is definitely there to shock and disturb. This book is like nothing I've ever read before and I'm not sure if its a territory I would venture into today, it is certainly disturbing how the impacts of war can effect people so far away.