Friday 1 September 2017

Book review : Wildest Of All - P. K. Lynch

Wildest Of All begins and ends with a death, but in between, it offers a poignant but ultimately uplifting tale of picking up the pieces and finding closure in an uncertain world.

When Peter Donnelly suddenly and unexpectedly dies in the prime of life, his demise is undoubtedly tragic, but the real victims are those he leaves behind : his 17-year-old daughter Sissy, his partner Jude and his widowed mother Anne. Peter barely gets a mention in the book - he is presented as Mr Average, with nothing particularly significant to report in his life, so he could be any of one of us or our loved ones - but he leaves an unfillable and cataclysmic hole in the lives of the three women who loved him most. From three different generations and with hugely different outlooks on life, they each have to find a way in this new and confusing world where their very identities have been eradicated : how can you continue to think of yourself as a daughter, wife or mother when your father, husband, son has ceased to exist?

Each of the women goes off the rails slightly in their quest for a new identity and a new sense of peace. Sissy drops out of school and heads to London for an exciting new life far away from her native Glasgow; Jude sinks slowly further into depression and closes the door on a potential new happy ending; Anne steps up as matriarch of the family, getting everything under control and sorting out her brood with a heart of gold (most of the time) but a fist of steel. It turns out that she's not as infallible as she thinks though, and she has to face up to demons of her past that resurface with this new bereavement.

All three of the women have their faults, but this makes them endearingly human and I found that I empathised with them even more when they were making mistakes and heading in the wrong direction. The journey that they each need to take in order to find a new self-awareness and inner peace puts a lot of distance between them, both geographically and emotionally, but they end up finding a pathway back to togetherness and discovering that family bonds can withstand anything.

P. K. Lynch trained as an actor and her first professional job was playing Lizzie in the film of Irvine Welsh’s novel, Trainspotting. Her first novel, Armadillos was awarded the Sceptre Prize for Fiction. (Click through to read my review of that book.)

I'm kicking off the Wildest Of All blog tour - make sure you head over to the other participating blogs to see what everyone else thought of the book !

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (1 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785079298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785079290

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

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