I am a compulsive reader. A 2 books a week kinda girl ( moving up to 3/4 on weekends when the children are away at grandma’s for the weekend). Books are my pleasure, my little departure from real life for an hour or two. I get to know characters I never would usually , I fall madly in love with men that ask nothing from me in return. It has been noted by those around me that my reading habit could be in part responsible for my dire love life. In my nutty blog though I rarely feel moved to write about books I’ve read.
Over the weekend I’ve come across my favourite book this year , one of my favourite’s ever. I love it so much ( and I know I’m being gushy) because it’s probably the first time I’ve identified so much with a character and a story.
Runaway Wife by Rowan Coleman tells the story of Rose , a woman who one day packs up and leaves her abusive marriage and runs away . She takes her daughter Maddie to a little village chasing love and kindness , but finding so much more than that in the process.
This was my story. I was the woman who one day left with little more than children , a bag full of soft toys and a change of clothes each. I was the woman who ran away far from home without a clue or plan what would happen next , not daring to believe I wouldn’t have to go back.
Like Rose , I relied on the kindness of strangers while my mind caught up with my actions. In the book Rose cuts her long hair drastically short in order to reinvent herself. I tried to find ‘me’ after I’d left too , only I realised that I no longer knew who I was . Only the me who my abusive partner had allowed me to be. I didn’t much like her.
I’m not keen on the term ‘chick lit ‘ but this is the genre I generally read. When I’ve read books that have touched on domestic abuse before , because I do read this genre the abuse has been glossed over , it illustrates a point , it isn’t THE point. This book is much more authentic , feels more real to me. That’s not to say it’s an easy read . Despite being away from the abusive relationship for all these years talk of voicemails from the ex threatening how ‘everyone ‘ knew how Rose was unstable did bring back the tiniest touch of fear.I felt that because I’d lived it.I think if a book can tap into emotion like that though the author is doing a great job.
The hard bits were reassuring though. Doing what I did was hard .Leaving , not giving in and going back , building a new life , trying to not cause the kids more anguish than necessary was hard . I’m further on though now. My family is happy and content and though some of the book brought back buried feelings , that’s not my life now , they’re no longer my feelings and I’m so very , very grateful for that.
So my favourite book of the year so far is this one. It’s lovely and funny and shocking in parts , but it’s real. The characters are almost all delightfully endearing. I loved the complicated little girl , Maddie and I had a huge soft spot for Tilda , I’d like to know her story.
I’d so love to hear what Rose and Maddie and Shona got up to next , though I did spend a lot of last night making up what happened next in my mind ( oh come on did you hear the gale force winds??? I couldn’t sleep!)
That’s why I love books so much. You can live a story as you read it.The really good ones make you feel the story as you read it , but the extra special books , they’re the ones you think about long after the last page is turned.