Posted by: bluelion | April 12, 2016

Let’s read… about Coventry

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#49 Sue Townsend: Rebuilding Coventry (Penguin, 2013)

I made the mistake of reading this book on public transport, chuckling through the whole journey. I love her sense of humour. Sue Townsend’s books are all laugh-out-loud funny but I’m also suffering tremendously with the protagonist. However, Coventry kept me at a distance from a certain point in the book onwards. It was rather short but with many characters introduced and then abandoned quickly. It was very enjoyable but left me a bit perplexed.

[SPOILER alert]

There’s no happy ending ever, is it? Just working class misery. I was waiting for a solution – the D’Eresbys solved it after all, didn’t they? I understand that she needed to leave that life behind but I think she could have done so with her name cleared, too. Hitting the tyrant could easily be justified but why did she have to have sex with a stranger? For money? Why was it necessary to flaw her character? Was this the reason her name couldn’t and wouldn’t be cleared? Did Townsend want to distance the readers from her? Then, at the end, she was so miserable abandoning her children, I was really heartbroken for her.

I appreciate that her dull routines were replaced by this chaotic life full of uncertainties, a whirlwind of new characters and events. I was sad and lonely and hungry with her. I suffered with her, then suddenly was distanced from her so much that I just read with interest but couldn’t identify with her any more.

I also waited for a solution for everyone’s problems. What will happen to the D’Eresbys’ son? Of course, this is what real life is like. Maybe you encounter some problems in other people’s lives but it’s none of your business to try to solve them. That’s what your own life is for. For a short, entertaining read, it kept me thinking for days afterwards. It left me puzzled and asking questions. What a powerful effect! I liked the follow-up on some characters’ lives in the epilogue and just loved the women’s insurgency! Way to go, sisters!



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