Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Beyond the Margin by Jo Jackson.
Jo Jackson reads books and writes them too.
Having worked with some of the most vulnerable people in society she has a unique voice apparent in her second novel Beyond the Margin.
She was a nurse, midwife and family psychotherapist and now lives in rural Shropshire with her husband. She loves travelling and walking as well as gardening, philosophy and art.
Her first novel Too Loud a Silence is set in Egypt where Jo lived for a few years with her husband and three children. Events there were the inspiration for her book which she describes as ‘a story she had to write’.
About the book
Is living on the edge of society a choice? Or is choice a luxury of the fortunate?
Joe, fighting drug addiction, runs until the sea halts his progress. His is a faltering search for meaningful relationships.
‘Let luck be a friend’, Nuala is told but it had never felt that way. Abandoned at five years old survival means learning not to care. Her only hope is to take control of her own destiny. The intertwining of their lives makes a compelling story of darkness and light, trauma, loss and second chances.
Nuala is abandoned to starve and die as a five-year-old. Her experiences as a child and in care define her character and choices, which aren’t always the right ones. Both Nuala and her choices are driven by her fear of abandonment, the fury about being powerless and the confusion she feels about her father. Love is mixed in equal measures with anger and longing.
Joe is a drug addict running away from his past and his life in general. He stumbles upon an elderly couple, who live an isolated life on an island. They recognise a young man in need of support. Joe struggles with inner demons – the call of the drugs that help him forget, and with his own difficult childhood.
Jackson has her finger on the pulse when it comes to the emotional depth and rawness of her characters. There is no sugar-coating of the truth or over-hyping of the same. It’s just out there – to be accepted or not. It’s uncomfortable, but the truth often is when it isn’t being hidden or glossed over. Our care systems are inadequate and children fall through the huge cracks all the time, and yet colour us surprised when they grow up to become the criminals, addicts and vulnerable adults of our societies. Children in care are jobs to over-worked, understaffed, and desensitised social workers who also lack the resources to help them when they need it the most.
It’s an emotional hard-hitting contemporary read. To some it might highlight the fact that we shouldn’t give up so easily on those who struggle or are difficult and don’t fit into the norm society dictates. Second chances can be given, but are often rejected because it’s hard to believe someone could actually care enough when those who are supposed to didn’t or weren’t capable of doing so.
This book will be going on my stand-outs of the year list. Jackson writes with such compassion and brutal honesty – the result is a breathtakingly down-to-earth and compelling read.
Enter the Giveaway to Win signed copies of Beyond the Margin and Too Loud a Silence by Jo Jackson. (UK only)
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