It’s been a while since I was on here. Things haven’t been the easiest, but there’s also been some wonderful moments – such as my wedding. I needed to take a break from reading things with a purpose and just read, but I actually have only read 2/3 books in the last couple of months, what with one thing or another. I was having a bad day the other day and my gorgeous husband took me to WH Smith and told me I could buy any book I wanted! It was a hard choice, and I ended up having to use my blog to see if I liked an author or not. It was actually really useful to have all those memories wrapped up in the blog, and so I am returning to review books again so that I always have that option when I can’t work out what book I should buy. I really haven’t had a lot of brain space recently, so it might be that the quality of my reviews slips, but practice makes perfect.
So here we are with a failsafe author for me – Dorothy Koomson. Her hard hitting, gritty and realistic books have both broken me and built me up over the years. She hides nothing, shys away from no subject and addresses all those things most of us try to avoid. That Girl from Nowhere was no different.
Clemency was adopted as a baby into a white family with a very racist and abusive uncle and a cousin who grew up to be the same way. After the death of her beloved father, Clemancy moves to Brighton with her mother to start a new life, having just left her partner of many years because he lied to her. Little does she know that this will set into motion a series of events she can’t control, leading to her finding herself in ways she never thought possible.
Koomson’s characterisation is always excellent. I struggled a little bit with Clemency’s mother and cousin. Both seemed to much made out to be the bad guy, but this was resolved a little bit towards the end. There was a definite lack of maternal affection throughout which made Clemancy’s mother seem almost abusive herself, and there was a lot of institutional racism even in the blended family that was uncomfortable to read. I’ve never before considered what it must be like to grow up as a black child with white parents, and it really opened my eyes to what a struggle it could be.
I liked Koomson’s use of a few incidental characters to strengthen Clemancy, especially Molly, a fellow adoptee whose role in the novel is minor but impact on Clemancy’s life is huge.
I wasn’t such a fan of Koomson using emails from Abi to Jonas. I didn’t feel like this added a lot to the story, or even to Abi’s character, and was an unnecessary addition.
Overall, the book was moving and dealt with issues such as adoption and euthanasia with compassion and understanding. As always, Koomson is a must read!