This is not Forgiveness by Celia Rees
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 is Not Forgiveness is darkly beautiful and draws you into this story with three main characters, all with their own voice and all with their own issues.
The opening wasn't what I expected and I needed to know what it was that Jamie couldn't forgive and if I agreed with him. So I began this heart breaking journey into Jamie, Caro and Rob's minds.
While I preferred the views from Jamie, I was drawn to Caro and Rob's stories like a trainwreck that you can't peel your eyes from. This is definitely an issues book, and I think that it is good that the majority of the book is from Jamie because of the perspective that he brings to the story. I didn't dislike being in the other's heads besides the nitpicky fact that when you are in Caro's head, it is in italics, and I don't really like reading in that format. It makes me feel weird. (Or weirder than usual)
I think that adding in those perspectives really just shows how deep their problems are and also gives a frame of reference for where they are coming from. This is a story with a lot of dark elements, and it was quite an adventure getting into the mind of a soldier with ptsd and some of the thoughts from war and dealing with the aftermath.
I think though that the blurb is a little misleading for Caro. It mentions scars on her wrists and that sort of caught me because that is more of the issues that I prefer to read about, but I didn't pay attention to the rest. She is into politics and making a statement, and that really is the forefront for her. She does have issues, and cutting is mentioned, but not in how I thought it would be.
Rob really broke my heart. The issues that he had to work with and all of the emotions he felt that he didn't really know what to do with. I think it is so important for me to read about and get a glimpse into what our soldiers to and how hard it is to adjust to being back.
Let me just warn you, in case you can't tell from the description, or if you don't get the sense from the first few pages... This story doesn't have a happily ever after. It is more true to life, and makes you think, hard.
Bottom line: Gritty and realistic story with three distinct main characters, beautiful and shocking.
p. 99 in earc
From down the hall, he's just a dark shape receding, sitting motionless, silhouetted against eh strong sunlight like a man in a photograph. His face is as familiar as my own in the mirrow, but he looks like someone I no longer know.
Celia Rees site
My question to you, my lovely readers: