Jackie – is a good listener. She listens to those who are damaged by what life has thrown at them. She wants to be needed. But what happens when someone listens to her?
Gavin – Conflicted about his sexual preference, Gavin has been in denial since he was a teenager. His first love, Steven, was cast aside because Gavin was afraid of societal condemnation and his father’s wrath. So… he married Imogen and had a son, Tim.
When he meets Jackie, and they spend the day chatting on the park bench, he is in his thirties. What is his life like now?
“You can’t live life slightly. You can’t lock big chunks of it away and expect to be happy. You’ve got to embrace all of it, even the bits that terrify you.”
Oh my goodness. The quote on the front cover of this novel says that it is ‘compulsively readable‘ and that is spot on. Whoever would have thought that an entire novel of two strangers talking on a park bench could be so immersive, so thought provoking, so compelling? After all, it is just two damaged people sharing their stories…
Ordinary people. This novel makes you re-examine those you meet and wonder what rich stories they could be hiding.
This is a book about human connection. Friendships, marriages, parenting, and love. It is about owning your own feelings and being true to yourself. Coming to the realization that the choices you’ve made don’t define you. Human beings are capable of making radical changes, though many choose not to and take the easy way out. They sabotage their own lives, thinking that they have to accept their unhappiness.
Funny, at times while reading this I was thinking of that old song by Barbra Streisand “People“. This novel has one overriding, didactic message. Be true to yourself and embrace life!
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Anne Cater and Random Things Tours. Publisher: Roundfire Books
ISBN:9781785359637 — ASIN: B0BBSQB4GR— 290 pages
Nigel Jay Cooper was born in South London, England.
After 4 years at university in Nottingham, he moved to North London for a year.
After that he did an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Sussex and when he finished, he never left Brighton again. It’s got a strong gravity, this place. I spent a few years working for Channel 4 Television as a writer and editor in their programme support department and then as a newspaper subeditor for The Argus.
In 2003, he set up a web marketing agency alongside his partner and they’ve been running it ever since, although it’s evolved and changed a lot over the years. They are now called We Are Togethr and provide an app to help brand employees build their influence online. He is also CEO of Author Spark, a service that helps authors and would-be authors to build their social media presence and influence.
When he turned 40, he realizsed the only thing he’d ever wanted to be was an author – but with business and children he’d parked it in the ‘dream’ pile of life. But there’s nothing like hitting 40 to make you re-evaluate everything, so he decided to write every day until he’d completed his first novel, Beat The Rain. It was published by Roundfire Books two years later.
He still lives in Brighton and Hove with his partner, their two children, an insane puppy and a chilled out cat. He is a (lapsed) marathon runner, occasional performer and drinker of coffee and wine. Not at the same time.