Thursday, March 2, 2017

Travels with my father by Karen Jennings

2 Star

Travels with My Father is a beautifully written autobiographical novel. Written from the point of view of a young woman, daughter and writer, it is a frank, yet delicate and moving, account of her relationship with her father and his influence on her own life.

In the footsteps of her father, the author travels the world. Yet, key scenes are set in Plumstead, a suburb of Cape Town, where her father lived most of his life.

The relationships and divisions between members of a family that does not wear its heart on its sleeve, and some of whom are real eccentrics, are sensitively recorded. It all adds to an intricate picture of a changing South African society.


Kathryn - 2 Star

I was a bit disappointed though in how the novel played out. At times it felt like she was writing their history only for herself. She didn't seem to always consider that the book had to transcend and be interesting for the reader.  While there were moments that captured my attention, for instance, his teaching career, I was mostly confused about the flow of the "story" and questioned many times why certain things had been included.
I'm perhaps judging harshly which I am loath to do as the book is inherently personal. However when a book is offered to bloggers for review or a book is personal but trying to be marketable you need to consider the reader more and whether there is anything they will take from it. 

While I found the purpose of the novel lacking there were certainly moments of interest, I just wish it had had a better outline that more people could enjoy.  I know that the author has written other novels with acclaim so it seems likely that I chose to read the wrong book first- I shall have to go back and read one of her earlier books!

Thank you to Holland Park Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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