Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book 64 - The beginner's guide to living by Lia Hills - City anywhere in the Western world

Why read books? In the pages of a book you can experience, voraciously,  feeling, actions, ideas, adventures, pain and joy. It the safe scare, the thinking through of what would I do? Lia Hills offers this to her readers in the novel. Will, 17 years old, starts to write down all his major questions about life, the universe and everything. He begins this journalling process seven days after his mother is killed in a car accident. The pain and anger he feels is so raw. On the day of her funeral, Will meets Taryn, the daughter of some friends of his parents. She seems to understand, she gives him her friendship and her love, more than the sympathy and awkwardness his school friends are offering. Will falls into and through some major life events in the few weeks after his mother's death. His first sexual experiences with Taryn, reading philosophers, attacking his brother, experimenting with drugs, vandalism, he runs away and tries to commit suicide. All of this and any of this could be true to life - I do feel that to put it all in the novel was a little too much. This is Lia Hills' first novel and she certainly created believable and sympathetic characters. Will's father simply not coping with the emotional toll of his wife's death withdraws and is distant. His older brother, Adam, is aloof and critical. Taryn is alos a well drawn character and I think it is the characters who make this book more of a success rather than the huge number of events Will goes through in a few weeks. Lia Hills also draws heavily on writers, poets and Macbeth as Will examines some of the thoughts about death and dying. A good read overall.

Above are the two different covers to the book. An interesting study in cover art and what teemagers' prefer.

Excellent review from Emily Hainsworth