Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Growing Up for Beginners by Claire Calman.
Claire Calman is a writer and broadcaster known for her novels that combine wit and pathos, including the bestseller Love is a Four-Letter Word. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Loose Ends. Click here to sign up for Claire’s newsletter
Follow @clairecalman on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Buy Growing Up for Beginners
About the book
It’s not easy being a grown-up, but at 47, Eleanor hoped she’d be better at it by now…
When Eleanor waves her daughter off for a gap-year trip, she finds herself stuck as a satellite wife, spinning in faithful orbit around her domineering husband, with only her clever but judgmental father Conrad for comfort.
Andrew isn’t mastering the art of growing up either. But when he finds his belongings dumped in bin bags on the drive, even he can see that his girlfriend is hinting he should move out. With no other options, he moves back in with his parents.
Backing onto their garden lives artist Cecilia, living in chaotic clutter and dreaming of her ex-lovers, still acting like a stroppy teenager at the age of 66.
Four lives are drawn together by long-buried secrets of the past, and it is time for them all to grow up… before it’s too late.
‘Shouts a rebel yell to encourage Eleanor to start a revolution!’
Let me start by saying that Roger is a monster. I am sure others will agree with me on this. It’s not just the coercive control, the belittling and treating Eleanor as if she is some sub-standard human being only capable of catering to his every whim, and those he deems appropriate for herself.
It’s the book thing. It’s cruel. To be completely frank I wouldn’t think twice about eliminating Roger and burying him in the garden – the provocation is just too severe. Revenge must be had! *gets shovel*
It’s easy to forget that our parents were young once, committed transgressions and mistakes, and perhaps didn’t live the life their children think they did. Conrad is an excellent example of that. He is a man formed by trauma as a child, which in turn determines the way he parents his own children.
The story follows the lives of Conrad, Eleanor, Andrew and Cecilia. Their stories are very much a message of six degrees of separation.
It’s a book with interlocking storylines – women’s fiction that speaks to the fragility of life and the core of strength we all carry within us. A core that helps us to overcome the hard times.
This story does a lot of weaving in the first few chapters and it’s hard to keep up sometimes, but it is worth the ride. Calman manages to create depth where the scenes and characters only seem shallow, which is a skill in itself. Reaching into topics of complacency in marriage, control, depression and the inner fear of finding and using your own voice. It’s an excellent read.
Buy Growing Up for Beginners at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Boldwood Books; pub date 4 Jun. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.