This is the story of Ava and her family, her workaholic husband Paul, teenage daughters from both ends of the spectrum quiet and studious Ali and loud and strong Sarah, her widowed father set loose to find his sexual mojo and a best friend who is helping Ava run a party planning business for kids when she hates them. What we have is another excellent book from Sinead Moriarty with such a mixture of characters you cannot help but like and love.
However, Moriarty does deal with serious issues, and in this book it is eating disorders. Told only from the point of view of Ava who is trying to be all things to all people and is nothing to herself. Ava tries to keep the family together but she is battling at every turn. Not only does she blame herself for her daughter Ali’s descent into Anorexia she has to try and get the support of her husband who believes that there is nothing wrong but just the need for a good meal. Paul has a lot to learn and as the story progresses and unfolds we learn how difficult anorexia is not just for the sufferer but also for the family and those close to them. Ali’s sister Sarah is kicking out at everything and everyone as the whole focus is on her sister and her illness, and she treats the problem head on, much to Ava’s disgust.
You have to remember that we are only getting one person’s perspective (Ava) on the situation but this does not distract from the seriousness of the issue. It was for me thoroughly well researched and I learnt a lot about eating disorders which perhaps I did not know. There are moments of hope when you believe that perhaps Ali has turned a corner but then this hope is lost when we learn the tricks that Ali uses to make it look like she is gaining weight. The family reach rock bottom and have to look towards the future and getting themselves back on track.
Do not think this book is full of gloom; it is full of wonderful warm Irish humour. Sarah, in her own unique way in dealing with her sister is as funny as is her determination to be an actress because she as the X factor and the self tanning experiences with her new boyfriend are “just so like, so cool”, made me laugh out loud. The experiences of Ava’s party planning business with precocious demanding 6 year olds! Moriarty has a unique gift in making you laugh with the family at the most humorous moments. For example Ava’s father and his live in, pregnant, pole dancing, large chested Polish girlfriend brought tears of laughter. But also making you cry when you see how distraught Ava is when she has to let her go and realise she needs help in helping her daughter Ali recover.
A great read, and if you have never read Sinead Moriarty before you could do no wrong with starting this book and discovering a great talent that is sharing the shelf with Marian Keyes easily.
A great book which took me two days to read. I was absorbed straight away. I found it a touching subject but also struggled with the review. I wanted to be clear about the eating disorder and not sound flippant about such a condition, I hope I have done it justice. I believe Sinead Moriarty has certainly done her research and this makes for a much fuller well rounded plot. I look forward to her next book.