Sunday, 14 February 2016

Look at me - Sarah Duguid - family ties

My thoughts

This is another very accomplished, enjoyable, debut novel about a fractured family and difficult relationships.

Lizzy lives with her Dad and her brother Ig, following their Mums death a couple of years earlier. The fury she feels on discovering the existence of her father's daughter to another woman, knows no bounds and she recklessly contacts her half sister, allowing her to enter their lives - and create havoc!

The family have always had a very hippy dippy love and peace, drugs and rock and roll kind of set up and Ig in particular has followed in their lead and has a slightly off the wall personality. Lizzy is an angry young woman feisty, yet soaked in ill concealed grief.

When she invites Eunice into their midst she is only too eager to accept and Lizzy is reluctant to admit the repercussions this is having by unsettling the equilibrium. Eunice turns out to be a very complex character and not the sweet, innocent sister she at times appears to be on the surface and her presence creates explosive tensions and more hidden secrets to rise to the surface.

I always find it quite difficult to relate to bohemian lifestyles, perhaps as my family was so old fashioned and straitlaced. Yet the characters are so well created I still found them believeable.

It's a story of family and loss and grief, quite a quick read as it's not overlong and very well written.

Recommended for anyone who enjoys family drama and strong characters.

I received my copy in advance of publication from the publisher Tinder press in exchange for an unbiased review.

The Blurb - from Goodreads

Lizzy lives with her father, Julian, and her brother, Ig, in North London. Two years ago her mother died, leaving a family bereft by her absence and a house still filled with her things: for Margaret was lively, beautiful, fun, loving; she kept the family together. So Lizzy thinks. Then, one day, Lizzy finds a letter from a stranger to her father, and discovers he has another child. Lizzy invites her into their world in an act of outraged defiance. Almost immediately, she realises her mistake.

Look at Me is a deft exploration of family, grief, and the delicate balance between moving forward and not quite being able to leave someone behind. It is an acute portrayal of how familial upheaval can cause misunderstanding and madness, damaging those you love most.

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