I found this book really easy to read as there are so many different character narrators that it really breaks it up. I read it on the train to Birmingham and it made it go very fast! The plot is very interesting- about a woman (Silvia) in a coma and all the different visitors that come. We slowly get to piece together what has happened in her life and how exactly she ended up in a coma.
It’s clever how Dawn French makes the reader hate Silvia initially and make you think that Cat is the only one who likes her and is nice to her (even though Silvia apparently “bullies” her too). I actually really pitied Cat at the start. She is a doctor, generally a person that you would respect and trust, and a person who has been abused by her father and brother and then later her husband. However, throughout the book there is a gradual yet noticeable shift in Cat’s behaviour as she becomes more and more psychotic- along with some very shocking and exciting twists!
So, it turns out Cat is actually a leech that has been sucking the life out of Silvia for five years. Now this is just my opinion, but I thought it was very clever how, in her desperate state to get cocaine, Cat scrapes the dirt and filth from the bottom of her bag and rubs it on her gums. She then spits on Silvia’s face. The next chapter sees Silvia with an infection- one that is just explained as something that she must have picked up because her immune system is so low. So, is it just me, or does Cat give her that infection by spitting dirt/ germs on her face? This is a rather fitting (yet tragic and sad) end for Silvia, who has been slowly killed by Cat mentally for the last five years, and then physically by the balcony push and finally the spit. It also could symbolise that it was actually Cat’s verbal abuse that was in fact her most deadly weapon- more so than her physical abuse, as this didn’t actually kill Silvia.
I thought Willow was adorable and laughed out loud when she drew a cat on Silvia’s face. Yet looking back now I’m tempted to think this may also have been a hint that it was Cat who had spat on her face and given her the infection. No matter how hard the nurses try they cannot get the cat t off Silvia’s face; Cat is too heavily ingrained there. I knew from this moment that she couldn’t be saved, it was too late to help her. Do you think I’ve gone too far? Or is this Dawn French’s clever symbolism?
I was glad that Ed/ Cassie/ Jamie all made peace with Silvia before she died. It was very emotional at the end. It highlighted the strong bond and the love of the family, and that no matter what happens, that unconditional love will never go away.
Tia was hilarious- definitely my favourite character! I laughed out loud when she read out the gossip magazines and gave her opinion on everything! Jo really annoyed me- idiot woman, I skim read her chapters to be honest. I also found Ed very boring- enough about trees already! Although I did like his and Winnie’s blossoming relationship, that was a lovely touch and a happy side to sad ending.
*Spoiler part over*
Altogether, I would say this is a very easy read, there’s a bit of everything in it- life, death, the family, coupled with a touch of mystery and humour.