Instructions For Bringing Up Scarlett by Annie Sanders
|Instructions For Bringing Up Scarlett by Annie Sanders|
|Genre: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Life changes for Alice when she loses her best friend and becomes guardian to hr daughter. A good holiday read.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: July 2011|
|External links: Author's website|
A lot of adults will be familiar with the scenario where a close friend ventures the thought 'if anything happened to us would you look after the children?' and there will be few who do other than give assurances that of course they would. There's an easy assumption that it was unlikely to come about - and it would seem churlish to refuse someone that reassurance. Alice gave her best friend Virginia that assurance, but when the unthinkable happened she was a travel guide writer, used to going hither and thither at a moment's notice. Scarlett was eleven years old and she didn't come with a user's manual.
I did wonder quite how this book was going to work out, because it took me a little while to realise that it's a before-and-after story. We gradually learn about the lives that Alice and Virginia lived before The Unthinkable Event and how life evolved and changed for Alice and Scarlett afterwards. It's a very clever trick to pull off as it's easy to think that you know what's going to happen unless the author gives weight to the underlying story - but doesn't tell you so much that you know spot on how it's going to end. Annie Sanders does it pretty well if not perfectly.
It's a look at grief as it affects three generations. The grandparents have lost a son and whilst Bill shrinks into himself Judy becomes more controlling, wanting to take over every aspect of her granddaughter's life. Alice is devastated. She's lost her closest friend - and then comes the dawning realisation that Ginny wasn't quite who she thought she was, along with the guilt about the support she didn't give her. It takes a while for Scarlett's grief to surface, but Sanders gives us an elegant and sensitive peep at what it's like to lose both of your parents when you're only eleven years old.
I pretty much guessed how it would all turn out, although there were a couple of twists which I didn't anticipate. The story sounds heavy but it's not a box-of-tissues-by-your-side story and if you're looking for a good holiday read this might be just the ticket.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
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