I was sent a copy of The Judas Scar
as part of the BritMums Book Club. Luckily enough, it arrived the day before I left for Brit Mums Live so I took it with me to read on the train.
Imagine my joy then, when I got to the venue and found that Amanda Jennings herself was there, signing copies of her book! I did the embarrassing gushing fan thing, whereby I went up to her saying “I just started reading it and I love it but it’s not here it’s in the hotel, will you be here tomorrow?” What can I say, je suis le dork. I brought my book back the next day and accosted Amanda to get it signed. (this is where I do a stupid fangirl dance. I still have copy of Sean’s Book signed by Sean Hughes in the mid-1990s, and I bet half of you have never even heard of him)
The book starts with a prologue that made me think this was an entirely different kind of book. It made me think, oh, this is a blood and guts and gore book about a serial killer or something. I remember being vaguely pissed off because now I’d signed up to review this book that seemed to be something straight out of old school Stephen King, and I am so not into that. But since I’d got it from the BritMums Book Club, I carried on reading – and I’m so glad I did. This book is not about a psycho serial killer!
The book is told mainly from two different perspectives: Harmony and her husband, Will. They lost a baby a little while ago, and seem to have differing feelings about it. Chunks of this book look back at the characters’ pasts. Both of them had somewhat troubled childhoods, but in different ways – and they dealt with them in different ways.
There is a third main character, who I won’t name because I don’t want to spoil any of the book for you – but that person had a fairly troubled childhood too.
I love the storyline in this book. It’s not a subject matter I’ve come across in a novel before (though granted, I’ve not read a lot of contemporary fiction lately). It’s brilliantly well written and in my opinion covers a difficult subject with sensitivity and understanding. Also, it quotes Larkin, which is always a winner for me.
This is one of those books that, once you get past half-way through you start to try and ration yourself so that it lasts longer. I managed to limit myself to a chapter a night, and dragged it out as long as possible – but when I finally finished it, I was left feeling a bit lost, wondering what I could read next. This is one of those novels that makes you really think about things, about how you would react if this sort of thing happened to you, if your husband or wife did this sort of thing; if your childhood had been like that, how would you have turned out? Like all of the best books, the answers are not easy to come by.
The ending of this book is a bit… normal. There is no explosion or final face-off where someone goes down in a blaze of glory or makes a big heart-rending speech about why they did what they did. In a way that’s a little disappointing – but it’s also just more realistic. We all know that in real life, you have a massive crisis that threatens to tear your world apart, and more often than not it either happens or disappears without trace and either way, there are no trumpets.
I would definitely recommend this book; it was a great read.
Thanks for reading!