Jessica's Reviews > My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
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's review
Jun 21, 2012

really liked it

I got a copy of the ARC via the publisher and I have to say, I loved it!

I won't lie, so I'll say this: I had doubts about a novel where an author pretends to be a ten year old child and writes about grief. Two topics that are not easy to master or write about, being a child and grief. There's enough books out there about grief and being a child that are terrible because the feelings and emotions seemed to fake.

I'm happy to say that My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece was not one such novel. The teaser on the back summarizes the book perfectly, "pitch-perfect innocence... powerful, timely debut novel". The novel is written in simple sentences that captures the emotions so well. The simplicity of the novel is what I love about the novel. It's so simple but it's so, so deep. Jamie notices so many things about his family (that his father is an alcoholic, his sister probably has an eating disorder, that his father isn't going to like Sunya purely because she's Muslim). Sometimes, I dislike how children are portrayed in novels because sometimes their innocence is somehow portrayed as stupidity and obliviousness.

I also liked how the author, Annabel Pitcher had the animosity towards Muslims very subtly, not overtly in-your-face kind of way. Readers saw what a good friend Sunya was, and how groundless Jamie's father's fears were.

However, what I liked most was the admission that Jamie didn't remember his sister. It felt real because after all, how does a 10 year old remember his sister who died when he was five?

I'm happy that Annabel Pitcher dodged all of the potential things that made me worry for the novel. I loved the novel and I'm actually giving my ARC to a friend to borrow!

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