Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
This is an enjoyable young adult novel. It is part love story / romance, part family relationshipsThanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.
This is an enjoyable young adult novel. It is part love story / romance, part family relationships and the role of parents in particular.
We are introduced to a girl living in a white room, wearing white, with no access to the outside world. Her mother (her father and brother tragically died) lives with her and watches her like a hawk for signs of illness. She has an rare disease meaning if she comes into contact with the outside world her health is jeopardised. One day the girl sees a boy an his family move in. He's also dressed in black, his family appearing stressed and argumentative. Eyes meet and, due to modern technology, the girl is able to message the boy and friendship begins. Friendship soon turns into something more and they meet in the sterile environment of the girl's home. Romance blossoms (under the nose of her nurse who disapproves but yet realises the girl needs to lead a life as well) and all is good until the girl wants more and goes to extremes to be part of the real world.
I predicted the twist in the story and was able to see why the mother behaved in certain ways, as a reaction to her grief. I thought the ending was okay, reasonably plausible, and as such it was an interesting novel, and for me, a quick read.
I was attracted to this book because I like reading stories about relationships between parents and children; this is a Norwegian novella which has beI was attracted to this book because I like reading stories about relationships between parents and children; this is a Norwegian novella which has been beautifully written and then translated. The story is narrated by the daughter, and this is one odd relationship though, with the mother locking the twenty-something university student daughter in her room to prevent her from taking a holiday with her new boyfriend. Whilst I might not wish my daughter to go on holiday with a man she's known for 2 weeks, I wouldn't think that locking her all day in her room was the best way of dealing with the situation. The daughter / narrator seemed more adult than the mother, who needed both looking after, and who also seemed to have no awareness of boundaries, particularly emotional and social.
The blurb suggested to me that it might be related to psychology, and although I was not expecting to read a psychological thriller I was also not expecting to be wading through psychological theory, which, admittedly, was cleverly weaved through the story. Fortunately I have both an interest and (some) knowledge of psychological theory and found the narrator's frequent references to theory interesting, but the heavy emphasis on psychological theory (used as a means for the narrator to understand her situations) might be off-putting for some.
I was also slightly surprised by the references to God throughout, and initially I thought I'd stumbled unaware into Christian fiction. The narrator appeared to have a close relationship to God but as her relationship to her man grows the relationship with God is questioned. Again, like the references to psychological theory, it is used as a mechanism to allow the narrator to make sense of her world.
Finally, this novella does contain infrequent sexually graphic references so please be aware of this if you prefer not to read this type of material. The sexual references are related to the story, although sometimes I struggled to understand whether she was fantasising whilst locked in the room, or it was experiences the narrator was actually going through.
Overall I enjoyed this novella and thought it beautifully written. I didn't award it 5 stars because I sometimes struggled to understand whether it was present, past, or future that was being referred to within the narration. ...more