The Spare Room

The Spare Room by Helen Garner

In books read on February 2, 2011

A tale of one friend caring for another friend who is dying of cancer doesn't sound like much of a page turning novel, but it is. Nicola travels from Sydney to Melbourne to stay in Helen's spare room and get treatment from a new clinic. The relationship between them leaps from close to strained and back again as they both deal with the situation. Helen thinks the treatment Nicola is receiving is pure quackery, Nicola doesn't want to face the fact that she's going to die. Helen is up all night helping Nicola out, Nicola claims she doesn't need nursing. It's a great little book with a good mix of sad and happy parts. Good exploration of friendship and caring.

A couple of things that seemed off to me: I find it a bit creepy when authors use their own name for characters - I don't mind if fiction is drawn from autobiography and have no idea if that's the case here or not - I just find it a bit weird. Of all the names out there couldn't they pick another? It makes me think there is some meaning to using their own name and that I'm missing something. And I found the end of the book a bit rushed; although I could see why the author had finished it as she did I was left wanting some more. Despite that I do appreciate the brevity - it's the kind of book where you get to realise things for yourself, the author doesn't feel the need to tell you the same thing over and over again.

I'd recommend it.

This was a kindle eBook.

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