Book: Beautiful Day
Author: Kate Anthony
Publisher: Penguin/Michael Joseph
Available: Out now in paperback and ebook format
If you enjoy this book you might like: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey (Although this is much more intense than Beautiful Day)
Summary: Rachel is looking for her beautiful day. She’s worried about everything: being a good mother, money and starting a new job. Philip is a lost soul in the world and he could do with a friend. They are just about to meet and when they do, everything will change. Rachel and Philip don’t know it yet, but they each have what the other needs. They can save one another, and not in the way you might expect.
Hope you’re all having lovely weeks and looking forward to the bank holiday weekend! This week I’ve been reading Kate Anthony’s debut novel, Beautiful Day. It’s a really touching story about motherhood, family love and generally being compassionate towards those around you.
I did enjoy the book, but because I am not a mother/have not gone through a divorce, it wasn’t always easy to fully connect with the protagonist Rachel. Saying that, Kate does provide her readers with an opportunity for empathy through Rachel’s selfish husband Dom – seriously, a man who leaves his family and then expects his wife to make all the concessions was not an easy character to connect with. It was in the passages where Rachel tries to balance her relationship with him for the sake of their children that I felt a bond with her, and really felt her frustration.
I also thought that Philip was a fascinating character – not because of his learning disabilities, but because of his extraordinary situation of having been cooped up in his mother’s house, having never learned to do anything for himself, right down to brushing his teeth. (The scene where Rachel teaches him is actually very touching – it’s one of my favourite moments in the book). I do wish we’d gained a bit more insight into his backstory – there are bits here and there, but he’s so crucial to the plot and yet sometimes it felt like he wasn’t getting as much character development as the others.
Kate worked as a residential social worker and I felt that she really conveyed the experience from the perspective of both patients and staff: it was really insightful for a reader like me who hasn’t had a first-hand experience with someone with learning disabilities. I liked that her writing was very concise, making it easy to follow the plot, although sometimes there were characters or passages I would have liked to read more of (which is actually a good thing!).
I would definitely recommend this as a leisurely summer read – the book is actually very uplifting and it’s not too intense, making it ideal for a beach holiday.
What are you all reading?