Thursday 7 April 2022

Review | This Beautiful Life by Katie Marsh

Published by Hodder & Stoughton on June 15, 2017

I’ve had This Beautiful Life on my shelves for years as I love Katie Marsh’s writing but there’s something about books with cancer in them that makes them more personal, and for me that doesn’t make them easy books to start. That’s why years after publication I still hadn’t read this novel, as I thought I may find it too triggering. Despite this, I’m not bothered if it takes me years before I get to read a certain book as they are always there for you to read and sometimes, the time you pick them up may actually be at the most perfect of moments.

This was the case with This Beautiful Life. I read it over the course of a day and found it to be moving, insightful and written with care and honesty. A book I really didn’t want to put down.

In truth, I didn’t really find this to be “a book about cancer” anyway. Instead, it was a life-affirming and poignant read about Abi, a character who is in remission and ready to face the next stage of her life. It’s not about the sickness that comes with cancer. It’s about the impact that cancer takes on everyone concerned. This was a beautiful read from the first page to the last.

There was so much to love about this book. One of my favourite parts was the soundtrack. In every phase of the book we get another song from Abi’s survival playlist and I enjoyed all the memories she had of each song and the meaning behind them. I felt like I could feel Abi’s nostalgia, hear the songs and picture the moments that made them memorable for her, and they brought true insight into her and her family’s lives.

Abi is concerned about her family. Everything has changed since her cancer diagnosis and now she is in remission, she feels cut off from her husband, John, and her son, Seb. She knows they’re hiding things and she’s not sure where her place is in her family anymore. Abi is torn between wanting to mend the cracks in her family whilst needing to start living again. Even though I didn’t always agree with her actions, I felt for Abi throughout and was rooting for a happy ending for everyone concerned. Her story is heartfelt and even though her family had their secrets, I really felt like there was nothing malicious about them. They too were just figuring out how to move forward with their lives when cancer had taken such a strong, destructive hold over them. I found the author’s writing to be authentic and compassionate and she made this story feel so real. With that, it became all the more emotional.

Other favourite parts of this book for me were characters like Abi’s dad, who had such a calming influence that I would like his help with all my problems. Rob, Abi’s brother, whose antics and disastrous small talk kept me entertained throughout. And how could I forget that ending – which somehow was absolutely perfect yet still had me scrambling for more pages.

This was another special book by Katie Marsh – she does it every time.

Review copy provided by the publisher - this was my honest review.     

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...