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An Unchoreographed Life

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4.29  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Mother and daughter: the most precious bond in the world. At six years old, Belinda Brabbage has amassed a wealth of wisdom and secret worries. She knows all the best hiding places in her Worlds End flat, how to zap monsters with her pig-shaped torch and that strangers will tempt you into their cars with offers of Fizzy Fish. Even so, it’s impossible to know how to behave ...more
Paperback, 1, 362 pages
Published April 20th 2014 by Jane Davis
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Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  68 ratings  ·  18 reviews


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Debbie Young
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Drawn in from the opening chapter by the strong characterisation of mother and daughter, and by the fluent prose enriched by meticulous close observation of mannerisms and setting (not just the location of London, but the details of immediatethe characters' immediate environments too), I couldn't put this book down, rooting for Belinda and increasingly for Alison as I turned the pages. A must-read for any mother or daughter - by the end of the story, both would be counting their blessings.
Kate Millin
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A brilliantly written story written partly from the viewpoint of a 6 year old girl Belinda and partly from that of her mother - an ex primal ballerina who had to make difficult life choices when she discovered she was pregnant. Alison (the mother) decides that she wants to be the best mother she can be to her daughter, but then has to work out how she can earn enough money to live on and be there for her daughter. The writing in is sympathetic about the choices she makes, even though many people ...more
Leonora Meriel
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
A brave and insightful story of a mother and a daughter struggling to get by in adverse conditions. Davis takes us from the viewpoint of the six-year old Belinda to that of her young mother Alison, little by little revealing the backstory that led to their harsh situation. Beautifully written and paced, yet covering heavier themes than the easy-flowing prose would suggest. Will read more from this author.
Karen Begg
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was privileged enough to be a Beta Reader for the latest book by Jane Davis - An Unchoreographed Life. This was a another great read by Jane. I am a huge fan of her writing and would put her books in my top 10 authors, possibly top 5.
Her books are all extrememely readable - getting you really involved with each character. An Unchoreographed Life is no exception to this and definitely doesn't disappoint here.
It is the story of a relationship between a single mother and her daughter, for whom
...more
Chantelle Atkins
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book from the moment I dove right into the mind of six year old Belle. I also enjoyed it when the book swapped to Alison's point of view. It felt like every scene counted, nothing was wasted and I particularly loved the dialogue, which was wonderfully realistic and subtle. The relationship between Alison and her daughter Belle was handled brilliantly, and although I sometimes winced at the decisions Alison made, I never stopped caring about her as well as her daughter. I sort of wan ...more
Rosalind Minett
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Alison whose early pregnancy wrecked her ballet career. The sad outcome, the pressures, crises and dilemmas of her South London life are shown without pretension as she turns reluctantly to prostitution. These sections were convincing.
There are some highs and lows and surprises in the plot, and a punch at the end so that the reader will not be disappointed by anything too easy. Sometimes the tone is similar to romantic fiction, but this is misleading for there is much in the
...more
Jessica Bell
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
What I love about Jane Davis’s writing is the way it effortlessly flows from one line to the next. She really knows how to make her prose sing. It’s practically poetry.

Though I felt the level of emotion could have been intensified in places to make me truly believe what had happened was real, there is no doubt in my mind that Davis’s remarkable characterization far outweighs any qualms I have.

Her characters really jump off the page. I could visualize them from the get-go. I adored the little gir
...more
S.M. Spencer
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To me the sign of a good book is when I start reading it during the day when there are hundreds of other things I "should" be doing.
This book certainly met that test.

Well written, engaging, heart-breaking. This is a book I imagine every woman would enjoy.

5 stars seems hardly enough.
Denny
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jane Davis writes superbly. Her prose seems effortless and flows so well, yet I found myself rereading passages simply to appreciate the construction - which is far too clinical a word to describe the beauty of Davis’ writing.

The characters are well defined and highly developed. Alison is striving to do the best for her daughter in the most awful of circumstances. The uncertainties of being a parent, the love of mother for daughter, the pressures of living in a dubious, much judged and dangerous
...more
Ellen
I won this novel in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway...thank you! It is an astonishing novel...beautifully written, well-crafted, and an unusual story. I loved Belinda...such an engaging child...she was my favourite character. A lot of the language and terminology is very British, which I loved, but some readers might be confused by it. The story is a little odd, but nevertheless engaging. I really enjoyed it!! Recommended.
Barb
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another great, great book by Jane Davis. What an outstanding author. No matter what the subject, her tales are so good, so complete, and a joy to read. An Unchoreographed Life is the fifth of her books I've read, and I am looking forward to the next, and many more.
Jayne Mackta
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fully satisfying read

Convincing characters, especially Belle who measures up to any of the memorable children in contemporary fiction. Engaging and highly credible.
Karen Begg
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was privileged enough to be a Beta Reader for the latest book by Jane Davis - An Unchoreographed Life. This was a another great read by Jane. I am a huge fan of her writing and would put her books in my top 10 authors, possibly top 5.
Her books are all extrememely readable - getting you really involved with each character. An Unchoreographed Life is no exception to this and definitely doesn't disappoint here.
It is the story of a relationship between a single mother and her daughter, for whom
...more
Jean Gill
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Compelling realism, very well written

I was uncomfortable with the point of view in the first few pages because there was a mix of adult insights with Belinda’s child’s eye view that didn’t work for me but, by the end of the chapter, I was hooked.

The book description emphasizes Belinda’s viewpoint, and the revelation of details about her mother (and about the babysitter) that we understand but Belinda doesn’t, is nicely done. However, what made the book exceptional for me were the sections from
...more
Bookmuseuk
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant and cleverly-written story about the relationship between a single mother and her daughter. When Alison discovered she was pregnant, she gave up the chance of being a prima ballerina and took up prostitution to give her daughter, Belinda a chance of a decent life.
After a chance encounter with a seemingly perfect family, Alison is offered the opportunity of making more money. The family welcomes Alison with open arms, and she gets a taste of the life she so desperately wants for Belin
...more
Amie McCracken
Jun 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
The characters, the story, the twists and turns, the disappointment, the ending - this book has it all in the right places. I loved Belinda, the child narrator, I loved her mother Alison. I was rooting for them from the very beginning, even when they did things that made me cringe or made me want to tell them off.

There were some pieces where I didn't feel the emotion. Parts that effected the rest of the story. But it all turned out ok because the flow of the prose and Davis's great writing style
...more
Liza Perrat
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant and cleverly-written story about the relationship between a single mother and her daughter. When Alison discovered she was pregnant, she gave up the chance of being a prima ballerina and took up prostitution to give her daughter, Belinda a chance of a decent life.
After a chance encounter with a seemingly perfect family, Alison is offered the opportunity of making more money. The family welcomes Alison with open arms, and she gets a taste of the life she so desperately wants for Belin
...more
Colin Mcintosh
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read three previous novels by this author and have enjoyed the meticulous research she has done to establish authentic backgrounds to her stories. The characters are always intriguing and well developed and she tackles difficult issues. This novel is no exception and I found it difficult to put down, postponing other tasks until it was finished. Her best one yet.
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Jane Davis is the author of nine thought-provoking novels. Her debut, Half-truths and White Lies, won the Daily Mail First Novel Award and was described by Joanne Harris as ‘A story of secrets, lies, grief and, ultimately, redemption, charmingly handled by this very promising new writer.’ The Bookseller called her 'One to Watch.' She has since published six further novels, These Fragile Things, I ...more

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