Thursday 27 April 2023

πŸ“– Publication Day Review ~ Eighteen Seconds by Louise Beech

Mardle Books
27 April 2023

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

My mother once said to me, ‘I wish you could feel the way I do for eighteen seconds. Just eighteen seconds, so you’d know how awful it is.’

I thought about it. Realised we could all learn from being in another person’s head for eighteen seconds. Eighteen seconds inside Grandma Roberts’ head as she sat alone with her evening cup of tea, us girls upstairs in bed. Eighteen seconds inside one-year-old Colin’s head when he woke up in a foster home without his family. Eighteen seconds inside the head of a girl waiting for her bedroom door to open.

Writer, Louise Beech, looks back on the events that led to the day her mother wrote down her last words, then jumped off the Humber Bridge. She missed witnessing the horror herself by minutes.

Louise recounts the pain and trauma of her childhood alongside her love for her siblings with a delicious dark humour and a profound voice of hope for the future.

πŸ“– My Review

We never know what is going on inside someone's head, we may think we do but its impossible to truly know another person's thought processes. However, in Eighteen Seconds, writer, Louise Beech, lays bare her thoughts and feelings as she shares this very personal account of her life, from her upbringing by a narcissistic, and negligent, mother, to the time when, in 2019, her mother jumped off the Humber Bridge, in a tragedy, which has had long lasting repercussions.

Eighteen Seconds is not an easy book to read and there were times when I had to stop and take a breather but there was never a second when I wasn't emotionally involved especially when the saddest moments of the author's life were shared in heartbreaking detail. Any personal memoir can sometimes feel intrusive and uncomfortable but Eighteen Seconds is none of these things. With skilful writing, which this author does so well, we are given a unique glimpse into her life, and that of her siblings, which is, at times, raw, brave and brutally honest, however, there is also tremendous energy, and the family's wry sense of humour and the obvious love between the siblings, brings some light relief. Tremendous credit must therefore go to the author for bringing the minutiae of her life into sharp focus and for allowing us a privileged glimpse into her family's painful past.

Over the last few years Louise Beech has written some of my absolute favourite novels, her writing is beautifully empathic and her ability to bring her characters to life is remarkable. It is humbling to now know that during some of her darkest days she was writing the novels which have come to mean so much to so many people.

About the Author

Louise's debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers' pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian's Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon 'quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt'. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as 'engrossing and captivating' by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA's Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. I Am Dust was a Top Six pick in Crime Monthly and a LoveReadingUK Monthly Pick. This Is How We Are Human was a Clare Mackintosh August Book of the Month 2021. Memoir Daffodils came out in audiobook 2022, as well as novel, Nothing Else. Memoir will come out in paperback as Eighteen Seconds 27th April 2023.

Twitter Twitter @louisewriter #EighteenSeconds


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