Thursday 1 December 2022

Book review : Let It Rain - Marcela Mariz

Looking at the front cover of Let It Rain by Marcela Mariz, my first thought was that it would appeal to a young adult audience - maybe late teens and twenty-something women. However, it turned out that as a woman in my fifties, I loved it and felt like it was focusing in on my own memories of growing up in the eighties and nineties. I loved all the little flashbacks to my formative years and the references to various song lyrics frequently had me humming eighties classics all day long !

The story focuses on Mandy Olsen, a 26-year-old woman who lives and breathes the eighties. Her choices of music, her lifestyle reminiscent of a Brat Pack movie and her favourite clothing (yes, she still wears legwarmers and probably also has batwing jumpers and mismatched fluorescent socks !) all hark back to the time of her life when she was the happiest. Sadly, those times didn't last.

Now an adult, she is back at her old high school, this time working in the office. The atmosphere seems very reminiscent of teenage years though, with the "cool clique" and their mean comments and low-level bullying taking on the outsiders, including Mandy. Her deep dark secret is about to be revealed and ridiculed : she still lives as if she is in the 1980's, back in the time when her life was carefree and fun and her favourite people, her mum and her best friend Joshua, were still around to support her.

Author Marcela Mariz explains that "the inspiration for Mandy came from a family friend. She was the most high-spirited and cheerful person I knew. She had this idiosyncratic way of dressing and talking, even her house was decorated as if she was still living in the 1960s. I was always fascinated by her. But when I got older, I discovered she had some heartbreaking losses in the 60s. So she preferred to pretend she was still living in the best years of her life. Behind her joyful smile, she hid a profound sadness."

As in all the best movies from the eighties and nineties, the underdog ends up coming out on top and it is heartwarming to see Mandy face her demons and turn her life around. When her life seems to be at its lowest point, she finds some much-needed support from some new friends and a few shocking discoveries reveal that life back in the eighties maybe wasn't the best time for everyone. 

It's an enjoyable read, especially if you can relate to your own memories of growing up in the eighties, but younger readers will still find Mandy's tale relevant and life-affirming.

star rating : 4/5

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0B7QC5H6J
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Independently published (1 Aug. 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 303 pages
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8839798373

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

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