Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Queen of Bloody Everything by Joanna Nadin

5 Star

Dido Sylvia Jones is six years and twenty-seven days old when she moves from London squat to suburban Essex and promptly falls in love with Tom Trevelyan, the boy next door. It's not just Tom that Dido falls for, though: it's also his precocious sister, Harry, and their fastidious, controlling mother, Angela. Because Angela is everything that Edie—Dido's own mother—is not. And the Trevelyans are exactly the kind of family Dido dreams of: Normal.

Dido wants to be normal more than anything else in the world. But it's the very thing that Edie can never be, as Dido—and the Trevelyans, including Dido's beloved Tom—will eventually learn the hard way.

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Kathryn - 5 Star

This book grabbed my attention and my heart not only because of the story but because of the writing. Every word had a purpose and the subtleties of each sentence made me question the undertones.

The novel is a study on relationships, primarily the bond between mother and daughter, and it is written as if the daughter is writing or speaking to her mother from childhood to adulthood. Their lives are difficult but not always due to hardships that are clear. It seems that Evie isn't entirely on board with her role as a mother and Dido is aware that her upbringing is unconventional, even as a small child. Though often frustrated Dido also loves her mother. Their interactions are heart breaking at times and it's no stretch to understand why she clings to the family in the home behind theirs. Their normalcy and clear roles make her feel safe. 
While my feelings of compassion for Dido were always clear my bond with Evie was mixed. I liked her spirit and her tenacity and also felt her longing for love from her daughter. But she could also be entirely devoid of maternal instinct so at times I couldn't always support her.  

The neighbours that Dido attaches herself to each represent something she is missing in her life and the author very gently weaves the links to each of them throughout the novel naturally. I was entirely convinced of their worth for her.  

While examining the mother/daughter bond this is also a novel of self discovery and growing up. A study on the way we are nurtured that will make you think and I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to read it.

Thank you to Pan MacMillan for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Joanna Nadin:
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