Have the Men Had Enough?

by Margaret Forster

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Absolutely fabulous book. Not an easy read because of the emotional attachment to the story. Good writing, great characters.

Narrated alternately by seventeen year old Hannah and her mother Jenny this book tells the story of the decline into senile dementia of “Grandma”. This is actually Hannah’s grandmother, and Jenny’s mother-in-law. The other major character is Bridget, Grandma’s daughter. Unmarried and a nurse, Bridget is totally devoted to her mother.

This is very much a book about the family dynamics between the women, Forster has made them all very convincing. Even when two characters are arguing totally different sides to an issue you can see why they are both right. (The men are believable too, but this isn’t really their story.)

It’s made clear early on that this isn’t a book that could ever really have a happy ending; Grandma isn’t going to get better, she isn’t going to get easier to cope with. The good thing is that, in Forster’s hands, it’s not a book full of interminable bleakness.