13 March 2018
My thanks to Cameron Publicity and Marketing for my copy of this book
What's it all about..
51 Weeks tells the story of Amy’s hilarious voyage of adventure, growth and self-discovery. Every week, for one year, she must select and undertake a mystery challenge chosen by her best friends, Cate, Claire and Bea.
What starts as harmless fun soon develops into an always exciting, yet frequently turbulent and sometimes profound, experience. As the weeks pass, friendships are forged and broken, infatuation tests morality and ethics, and the revelation of dark secrets changes both Amy’s life and the lives of those she loves — often in unexpected ways.
51 Weeks is much more than a series of challenges. A sassy, highly relatable novel, dealing with the realities of ageing we all face, it’s also an inspirational and empowering journey of self-discovery. It prompts readers to put together their own bowl of challenges, get off the sofa, and try everything they’ve ever wanted to do — often learning something surprising about themselves along the way.
My thoughts about it..
The significance of milestone birthdays shouldn't be underestimated as they give us the opportunity to take stock of our lives, to look back at what has gone before and also to look ahead in order to prepare for the next set of challenges. And that's precisely what Amy Richards does as she approaches her fiftieth birthday and, with a little help from her friends, Amy is given a set of mystery challenges to complete throughout her fiftieth year, which range from the thought-provoking, to the downright bizarre.
I found much to enjoy in this quirky novel. On the surface, it's quite light hearted but there is also a serious side, particularly around Amy's marriage to her husband, Geoff, who I took an active dislike to from the very beginning. There's also a perceptive look at female friendship which can be supportive and the best thing in the world, but which, it must be said, can also be, on occasion, quite toxic. Amy's relationship with the girlfriends who set the challenges is a good example of how friendships change and evolve.
The author writes well and brings her characters to life in a believable way. Although a few of the challenges made me question whether anyone would actually go ahead with some of them, but then Amy constantly took me by surprise, particularly her adeptness as a sex chat line operator, for which she got a certificate of competence.
51 Weeks is a light hearted look at the subtle, and not so subtle, vagaries of life and I think it challenges us all to take stock occasionally and do something out of our comfort zone but perhaps not always like Amy.
About the Author
Julia is married with two teenage girls; she lives on the edge of the lake district and works in insurance. In her spare time she teaches French to secondary school children; is active on her local village hall committee;enjoys 'wine and board game' evenings and is busy writing her sequel to her debut novel 51 Weeks.
Twitter @juliamyerscough #51weeks