Posted 20 hours ago

Learning To Swim

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I wasn't glued to the book wanting to know what would happen next; instead I read it slowly as though savouring a good wine. Abigail thought she'd banished the ghost of her life with them and the catastrophe that ended it, but thirteen years later a chance encounter forces her to acknowledge that the spell is far from broken.

The characters were, all of them, well-portrayed and Ms Chambers' depiction of Abigail's childhood years (especially the sections where she was bullied at school) was particularly well done. Publication dates are subject to change (although this is an extremely uncommon occurrence overall). Overall I really enjoyed it and would recommend it if you’re looking for a read that will take you back to navigating teenage friendships and family life. Praise for Clare Chambers-'Modern, intelligently observed and highly original' Daily Mail'This delicious novel is a joy from beginning to end - a perfect novel' Lisa Jewell'Charming - A funny and moving story with a great deal of style' Sunday Telegraph'A spirited account of growing up and falling in love' Good Housekeeping'An intelligent and escapist read - well written, and very funny' Daily Express Abigail Jex never expected to see any of the Radley household again.And some of the cultural references seemed not to match the time setting: I assume the first part of the story was set in the 1970s but some of it seemed more typical of the 1950s/60s. The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. A great read - I really enjoyed the witty, sardonic voice and found the characters rounded and likeable too. The party was being given by a girl at school, and in recognition of the shortage of available males we had all been instructed to “bring a boy.

I read Small Pleasures by the same author earlier this year and absolutely loved it so it was an easy decision to give this book a go. On the other hand certain episodes seemed unlikely to me, even for the Radleys, in particular the scene which causes Rad to be so angry with Abigail.

review: Quirky book, follows a formula I have seen before - shy quiet lonely person gets drawn into a colourful family, and eventually they are treated as a member of the family, before some tragedy results in their total ejection and rejection. I thought the author did a good job of portraying the teenage Abigail's limited understanding of what exactly was going on in the family of her friend Frances, and I enjoyed everyone's assertion that Lexi was 'the normal one'.

It's not all comedy though - Chambers very movingly depicts Abigail's progression to adulthood, and the eventual weakening of her friendship with Frances Radley.The Radley's were extraordinary, captivating creatures transplanted from a bohemian corner of North London to outer suburbia, and the young Abigail found herself drawn into their magic circle- the eccentric Frances, her new best friend; Frances' mother, the liberated, headstrong Lexi; and of course the brilliant, beautiful Rad. Clare’s gift for storytelling and her quirky but incredibly accessible style make her novels a sheer joy to read. Abigail thought she'd banished the ghost of her life with them and the catastrophe that ended it, but thirteen years later a chance encounter forces her to acknowledge that the spell is far from broken . And then it seemed slightly unbelievable that Abigail would have had so little luck in love between the ages of 18 and 31. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.

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