Sunday 6 March 2011

Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty

I received a review copy of Whatever You Love by Louise Doughty last week, kindly sent to me by Alex from Faber & Faber.

I finished reading it today, I've been transfixed by this story for a couple of days, it is a really powerful read concerning a subject that nobody ever wants to contemplate.  Read my thoughts below:

I have been really blown away by this novel, it's one of those stories that you really really need to keep on reading, one of those that is almost impossible to put down, with clever twists and turns throughout the very well woven plot.
The main plotline is one that puts the fear into any parent; the unexpected and accidental death of a child.  Betty is the nine-year old daughter of Laura and David, the prologue of the story is the moment that Laura realises that there are two police officers on her doorstep and then the realisation that Betty is dead.  So, a really difficult and emotional subject to deal with, but Louise Doughty deals with it easily - the drama, the emotion and the grief are splendidly portrayed throughout the novel.
As Laura tries to deal with her grief, her life slowly unravells and she descends into a kind of 'other' world - almost madness and deep deep sorrow. I was really impressed by how Doughty reveals Laura and David's past relationship, in a series of flash-backs that totally fit into the story and give the reader an understanding of why and how both of them behave like they do.
Laura is something of a flawed character and makes some pretty strange decisions, she can be almost melodramatic in her actions at times, but this didn't lessen the impact of the story for me.
Overall, this is one of the most intriguing novels I have read for a long time, not uplifting or cheering in any way, in fact it's quite brutal and unsettling at times.  A very powerful read.

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