October 17, 2013

Review - Life, Death and Vanilla Slices by Jenny Éclair

Jean is hit by a car on her way back from the shop with a box of vanilla slices. She always buys them when she wants to celebrate but what is the event that she is celebrating? Her grown-up daughter Anne, comes back home to care for her and they both have time and space away from their daily routines to reflect on their shared history and how their family was formed. Anne was her father's favourite, her sister Jess was her mother's. But when Dad died it got a bit lopsided, Mum, and I know it must have been hard for you because I think you did love me, it was just you liked Jess more. I'm glad I don't have a favourite with my boys, though to be honest, I don't like either of them much at the moment. The reason your parents make decisions may be based on things you knew nothing about; and children have inner lives that their parents cannot fathom. Jenny Éclair is one of my favourite Grumpy Old Women and a noted stand up comedian and this is her third novel. Some of the words from the reviews on the cover include unflinching, brilliantly sharp, black humour, brave, angry, melancholy, rich and honest. I agree with all of them. It made me think differently about being both a daughter and a mother. Wendy

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