Charlotte's Reviews > The Spare Room

The Spare Room by Helen Garner
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's review
Oct 27, 2011

liked it
Read in May, 2011

First and foremost, the thing I LOVED about this book was how easy it was to read, I whipped through it in a couple of hours. As another reviewer said, not a single word was wasted. It flowed beautifully - no unnecessary jumping about from present to past, from one character to another .... it just good old story telling - brilliant.

So - terminal cancer; An incredibly tough subject matter. Aside from murder and child abuse, probably one of the toughest.

I wont dissect the story too much but suffice to say that Nicola has terminal cancer and seeks the care of friend, Helen. Nicola fails to accept that she is dying and seeks 'miracle cures' to drive out the cancer, leaving Helen to pick up the pieces.

I personally did not like Helen. She did not display anywhere near enough caring, emotional support or sympathy and seemed to constantly grumble about doing everything. Bearing in mind Nicola was only staying a couple of weeks with her, I thought Helen must really begrudge her friend the care she required.

Anyway, that said, I had to remind myself that just because I didn't like the way the book was going, didn't mean it wasn't a good book well-written. Helen Garner's tale evoked many emotions in me, pity, fear, admiration, frustration, anger.

It was certainly a page-turner.

My last point would be though that should I ever get cancer, the tale will haunt me. I seriously would NOT want anyone I knew with cancer to read this.

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