I adored both Tara and Branston, from the moment I inhaled the prologue; I so loved the idea of a golden labrador, dressed up as a lion and I stored an appropriate image in my mind, filed under ’joyous occasions’. I loved the fact that not only was Branston dressed up, but that he was dressed in a wholly appropriate costume for his colouring, if not for his temperament. I did however feel a deluge of emotion, at the end of that first chapter, as much for that which was left unsaid, as for that which passed anyone’s lips. It felt to me like a life changing event, that would live on in Tara’s heart, long after the actual incident.
In the present day, I found myself warming to Tara, yet vaguely amused by the idea of past skeletons almost deliberately jumping out of the closet at the most inopportune moments! I liked the subtle humour rippling through the book, an example being Tara’s support of the ‘Ditch the Drive’ campaign, which basically seemed to involve her parking a street or two further away from work, in the hope of not being spotted in the car, whilst yearning to be spotted on the walk from the car to the office. The humour ramps up when Tara gets spotted parking by a colleague and is trying to look as though she hasn’t just got out of her car, whilst gazing at her handbag, sitting happily on her seat!
I was very taken with the way that Tara and David shared the same kind of views on therapy – the way that their shared opinion of some of the more whacky forms of therapy actually brought them together. This was also another opportunity for some welcome humour, for example when they share the judging of the clinic home brew competition.
On a personal front, Tara’s ever changing relationship with her Father evoked memories for me. I found myself genuinely caring about the outcome of their fledgling liaisons, wanting the best convlusion for them both. This felt especially important for Tara, given her current mourning for her Mother. The introduction of Molly also resonated strongly with me, but from personal experience, I thought that the author dealt with the storyline with the utmost empathy.
This was a marvellous, joyful, empathetic read, about family and about love; about the fragility of these feelings and how vulnerable they can be to misunderstandings. A story about feelings and memories; about the inadvertent way that history can reinvent itself, via the brain’s selective memory – not only selective regarding what is remembered, and what is believed, but how those memories manifest themselves and the use that those beliefs are put to.