Especially when I’m struggling with my writing, I find myself wondering all kinds of things. What makes a good book? What keeps me reading? When do I roll my eyes at melodrama, and when do I have to swallow a gulp in my throat? Where are all these boundaries?
Also, I’m a picky reader.
I used to beat myself up about not finishing books, but I think somewhere along the line as a literature student, I realised that it was impossible for me to read everything I wanted to read. There were books I actually enjoyed but could not finish.
Middlemarch comes to mind, but there were many others.
When I started reading Paradise End by Elizabeth Laird, I was overly critical. There were parts where I got thoroughly annoyed with the protagonist Carly, but then, I warmed to her and to her story.
And I realised yet again that for me, the greatest stories are stories of friendship. Friendship that stands the test of place and time is exceptional. There’s something deep and special about friendship between children, and the conviction that nothing can change what exists between them. In life as in literature, friendship is a treasure.
Carly is a girl much like me. She romanticises a place and yearns for it. When she discovers that Paradise End, a beautiful house close to where she lives, is home to a girl her age, she is both resentful and envious. She becomes ‘spiky and jealous’, as she puts it.
Soon, Carly realises how anxious and desperate for love Tia is, and this brings out a sensitive side of her character that she never knew existed. With all the high drama and quarrelling that’s part of friendship between children, their relationship begins to blossom, is tested, and then grows again.
A lovely, warm read, I realise why I love Elizabeth Laird’s work so much.
|Rating (out of 5)||4|
Other books by Elizabeth Laird that I’ve read and loved: