Thursday, 25 August 2016

Book Review: Second Time Around by Colette Caddle

After a freak accident and eight weeks in a coma, Suzie Connors’ family are elated when their adored mother finally wakes up absolutely fine. Except she’s not.
Blissfully unaware of her children’s shock at having to deal with the changes in their mum, Suzie has had a wake-up call and intends to live life to the full, with or without their approval. Then her youngest daughter, Sharon, is faced with some major issues of her own and the one person she would have turned to – her mother – is no longer there for her.
An emotional story about family, second chances and what happens when, in the blink of an eye, life changes forever …

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for my copy of this book.

It's quite a well-known fact that head injury can result in personality changes, and this affects not only the injured person but also those closest to them. The effect of the change in Suzie's behaviour causes shock and upset to her family and friends in different ways. 

Colette describes the horror and torment suffered by a family when a loved one is in hospital very well. That feeling of being in limbo, of not knowing if your loved one will die, or to what extent they will be affected. It is exhausting, both physically and mentally. Then when Suzie does wake up, the torment isn't over by any means as they all have to learn to adjust to the 'new' Suzie.

The story is told from multiple points of view, which shows how each person is affected by Suzie's injury to great effect. 

Suzie has lost her ability to filter her thoughts and what comes out of her mouth, often to quite humorous effect. She is struggling with her memory - who should she trust to tell her the truth about her past? 

Jess feels she has to carry the responsibility of looking after her mother; but she has problems of her own when her love life and work life collide. 

Jess's sister, Sharon, has it tough - her husband cannot connect with their son, Bobby, and now Suzie, who always adored her grandson, makes her thoughts on Sharon's mollycoddling perfectly clear. So clear that Bobby thinks his granny doesn't like him - a heartbreaking thing for any child. But deep down Sharon knows there's more to Bobby's behaviour than naughtiness - she just needs to admit it. Caddle's writing deals with this with a great deal of empathy.

Suzie's son, Noel, has the struggle of uni exams to cope with as well as his mother's erratic behaviour. He can't even confide in his best friend Cal, who is bewildered by Noel's distance.

Cal is my favourite character - he brings a lot of sense to everyone around him, not least Jess and Bobby.

As for the worst character - it has to be a toss-up between Suzie's sister Mandy, a conniving, jealous woman - no one else can believe it when she claims to be a loving sister, helping Suzie; and Jess's lover/boss Louis, who just makes my skin crawl!

Second Time Around is a heart-warming read about second chances, family and friendship. I loved it.

You can buy Second Time Around here (other retailers are available...).

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