Image courtesy of Amazon.com
I'll admit, I was initially a little dubious about this book. I mean how good an author could the super-model granddaughter of Roald Dahl be?
Well, I'll confess, I was wrong. It's a intelligent, evocative, beautifully written, coming-of-age book about the difficult relationship between a young girl and her mother.
Kitty is the girl in question and Marina is her beautiful, beguiling, selfish mother. The narrative moves between England and the US, as well as past and present.
Dahl isn't afraid to cast an unflinching eye on contradictions in the mother/daughter relationship and show how it's possible to love and hate someone at the same time. Marina is an ex-model who now works as an artist. She's self absorbed, promiscuous... and mentally ill. She uproots her children, moves to the States and puts Kitty into an unsuitable boarding school on the orders of a rather dubious Swami and well... to say anymore would ruin the book for you.
Having had a very difficult relationship with my own mother, I found this book strangely cathartic. Dahl writes with wit and sympathy. Kitty is a strong character who comes to rely on her own intuition and intelligence to survive an awful situation and accept herself & her mother without reservation.
You can buy in the UK here and the US here.