Sunday 10 February 2013

Lifesaving For Beginners by Ciara Geraghty

Lifesaving For Beginners was published by Hodder in September 2012 and is Ciara Geraghty's fourth novel.  Why have I not read any of her books before now?   Where have I been?  Where has she been?  Somehow, her novels have totally passed me by and until I saw the cover of Lifesaving For Beginners, I had honestly never heard her name before.   Big slaps around the head for me!!   On the positive side though, this does mean that I now have her first three novels to catch up on.

The story is just so wonderfully told - in two voices; that of nine-year-old (nearly ten) Milo and thirty-nine year old (nearly forty) Kat.    The reader is enticed into the story when it begins with a car accident in Dublin.   A lorry driver falls asleep and two cars are involved in the collision.    One is driven by Beth, Milo's mother who is visiting Ireland from her home in Brighton, the other is driven by Kat.  Kat's car is written-off but she escapes with just a fractured rib.  Beth dies, she doesn't return home to Milo.

Alternate chapters are narrated by Milo and Kat.   Two people connected by one tragic accident - or are they?  As the story unfolds it becomes clear that there is far more to connect them than just the car accident.

Ciara Geraghty
Ciara Geraghty has created a story that is original, quirky and very emotional.  She has also brought to life some stunning characters, not least the fabulous Milo.  Milo is a typical nine-year-old boy who says what ever comes into his head, doesn't really understand what is happening to him, but is kind and good and wants everyone around him to be happy.     Then there is Kat who at first seems to be a very insular, almost selfish character.  She appears unable to care about anyone, and that includes herself.  She's aloof, she's cold and she's very very alone.  It's not until almost half-way through the story that the reader begins to understand just why Kat is like she is, and although she can be difficult, by the end of the novel I found myself cheering for her and desperately hoping that she would find the happiness that everyone deserves.

I was really impressed by this novel, the writing is engaging and very very funny in places.  It's also heart-breakingly sad in others.   The plot is fast-flowing, the characters are realistic and worth caring about.

A really great read that I would recommend to others, especially if you've enjoyed novels by Marian Keyes or Ella Griffin.

Ciara Geraghty's official website is here, you can follow her on Twitter here and like the Facebook page here.


  1. Wonderful review Anne. I like the sound of this so might get it with my book tokens I have, at the airport.

  2. Four-starred her Finding Mr Flood over a year ago, and enjoyed her quirky style, so will look out for this one too. A bit Milly Johnson too I thought...

  3. Yes, the Milly Johnson comparison is spot-on. I must look out for her others - enjoyed this one very much

  4. Great review Anne thanks for bringing her to our attention

  5. Another lovely review Anne. Thanks.

  6. Like the sound of this, thanks for the review.