Thursday 17 April 2014

Book review : From Dust To Dust and a Lifetime In Between - Katherine Anne Lee

The front cover of From Dust To Dust and a Lifetime In Between says that it is inspired by a true story (that of the author's grandmother). It tells the story of Mollie's life which, though far from being a fairytale happy-ever-after affair, doesn't really seem particularly outstanding to me. In fact, in many respects, it could be the tale of my own grandmother's life. After suffering a tragic loss in World War II, she manages to find happiness again, becoming a wife and mother, only for illness to strike those closest to her. That's certainly all very sad but not particularly unique and I did find myself thinking that this story could be that of so many people around the world. 

The blurb says : "Growing up in a sheltered dream world in a little English town called Church Stretton, falling in love and getting married. That’s the way it should be, a future life that every little girl dreams of. A constant line, a perfect path to follow. That’s how it all began, shortly before the 1920’s. But that’s not how life is, is it? Life’s not always fair, and takes turns that are not understandable. And so it was that the first plunge into the deepest dark wasn’t far off. An icy cold blizzard hit me, leaving a trail of devastation, only to move on without any explanation. Life didn’t let me go, and getting back to my feet rewarded me with the greatest gift. Rocketing up, I touched the highest mountaintops of love. But life doesn’t stand still and moments cannot be frozen. It moves on and tells its own tale. It wasn’t long before I encountered the next fall. This is my story. This is Mollie’s story. Our yesterday’s fortune doesn’t belong to us anymore and what’s to come tomorrow isn’t ours yet. It’s only the now that is ours for a short moment."

Certain parts are very well written and extremely poignant. I particularly appreciated the skill of the writing in the nightmarish cancer dream sequences and the final chapters, seen through Molly's eyes as she slowly loses her sense of personality and memories to dementia. These scenes are very potent and will haunt me long after finishing the book.

But other parts seemed overly self-pitying and depressing. Molly has some tough breaks, but no more than the average person on the street, so it seemed a bit self-centred to wallow in the doom and gloom. What goes up must come down and I came to expect an impending tragedy as soon as some good news or something positive came into the narrative !

If you want a bit of a tearjerker or something to make you ponder on life's meanderings from youth to old age, it's a pleasant enough read. On the other hand, if you want something light and uplifting to escape into at the end of a tough day at work, it's probably not the best reading material you could find !

star rating : 3.5/5

RRP : £12.99

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Anne Lee; 1 edition (24 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3952420506
  • ISBN-13: 978-3952420508
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 13.8 x 21.3 cm

Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to give my honest opinion.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : Tiny Acts of Love - Lucy Lawrie

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