Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Glass Houses - Jackie Buxton - moral dilemmas




My Review

Glass houses by Jackie Buxton is a tantalising literary moral dilemma novel about an accident with far reaching consequences.

The main protagonist 51 year old Toris (Victoria) is a complex and difficult character. The book starts with her in her car in a motorway pile up badly injured. That the accident was her fault is not in dispute, she selfishly texted her husband moments before the crash.

With her, trying to help is Etta, giving a little first aid and comfort until the paramedics arrive.

We next meet Tori in hospital, with no memory of the accident she has been badly injured, it looks as though her life and her families, will never be the same again. Sadly neither will the lives of others caught up in this avoidable tragedy. Deaths have occurred and as Tori gradually begins her slow recovery it becomes apparent that publicity means she has become a reviled character, synonymous with the evils of using a mobile phone whilst driving. Even whilst she lies at deaths door it’s her family members reactions to her involvement and public opinion and outcry which begin to shape the days to come.

But she has grit and determination and despite her injuries and public opinion begins to try and make amends. This is a story of human feelings and reactions and I must admit I was very aware throughout that this was fiction as I found it very difficult to reconcile quite a few peoples reactions to different situations faced in this book.

Etta's life is coming apart at the seams, but does this lie at Tori's door too? She's being blamed for the woes' of the world but what exactly is going on behind Etta's panic attacks and inability to cope with everyday life?

I found this human interest story to be a gripping read, despite not really warming to the lead characters, I find their motives are hard for me personally to understand. But nobody does behave exactly as one would expect in situations, so what makes it hard to believe in some ways also makes it seem more authentic, if you get my gist.

However it’s a real page turner which kept me wondering what was going to happen next as we follow the story of the two women Tori and Etta in the aftermath, both have hidden agendas and neither is finding life simple. This is a book which proves the old adage that women are like tea bags you never know how strong they are until you immerse them in hot water.

There are lots of well rounded secondary characters whose lives become enmeshed, there’s Steve the determined paparazzo who spends his time lurking behind a bush in Tori’s garden waiting for his big break and Tori’s stepfather who provides a little light relief with his serial relationships with unsuitable women, his comb over and dyed hair and terror of growing old.

In fact what sounds as though it could be a thoroughly gloomy book, albeit tackling some gritty and dark subject matter is dealt with using a stroke of human interest humour here and there which reprieves the harshness.

It’s a clever and thought provoking book which entertains and makes you think without being too preachy. Oh, but the ending was a bit of a kick up the butt and really not what I was expecting at all, and I can say no more for fear of spoiling your enjoyment.

I received my copy from the publisher Urbane Publications to review.

The Blurb

Fifty-one-year old Tori Williams' life implodes when she sends a text while driving  and allegedly causes the horrific crash in which three people die. Public and press are baying for her blood, but Tori is no wallflower and refuses to buckle under their pressure and be a pariah. 

Etta, another driver involved in the fatal accident, saved Tori's life at the scene. She's a hero, so why is her life falling apart? Perhaps by saving Etta using any means, Tori can save herself—and in doing so, protect her own future and the future of those she loves. 

This incredibly topical and contemporary morality tale appeals across generations and will find favor with fans of authors such as Liane Moriarty, Marian Keyes, and Kathryn Croft.

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