I will start off by saying that unfortunately the greatest opposition and critics of women are often other women. Instead of supporting each other and strengthening a sense of sisterhood we tend to target each other instead.
Not that women can’t have spectacular friendships, the kind that last for decades, but perhaps there are women you shouldn’t invite into your home. Shouldn’t invite them to saunter half-naked in front of your husband and nearly adult son. Perhaps Mel is so blinded by the need to be Abi’s friend that she refuses to see her for what she really is.
If you have children there will come a time, and it might possibly shock you, when they reach a certain age and other people view them as potential partners. When you walk down the street with your teenage daughter and you realise the middle aged or young man coming towards you is eyeing her up like an ice-cream needing to be licked on a hot day.
I can remember the first time I realised one of the parents in my youngest son’s primary school was eyeballing my eldest son, a 6ft 2in sixteen year old, and attempting to flirt with him. I just wasn’t prepared for it, because in my head he will always be the cute curly-haired two year old.
My initial gut reaction to these moments was shock, then anger and now I use a technique I have spent many years cultivating called the stink-eye, also more commonly known as the evil eye.
I found myself wondering what I would do or say in the same situation as Mel. I’m not sure I would be able to contain my inner rage. The betrayal is an intimate one, boundaries are crossed and relationships broken. There are some things that are unforgivable even if you have to resign yourself to a situation you can’t change.
Parks really knows how make her readers experience the emotional turmoil of her characters. She does that by keeping her fiction as close to real life scenarios as possible. Real people and real emotions are her forte. It’s a drama filled tale of revenge and shocking betrayal, a compelling read about a woman being blindsided by a friend she trusts completely.
This is a read that will fuel discussion. Who is right? Would you forgive your friend? Would you invite your friend in? Yes, it is the kind of story that will make you angry and perhaps even a little frustrated on Mel’s behalf.
Publisher: Harper Collins UK, Pub. date 20 September 2018