Imagine living your life as normal, but you have no memory of your life from birth to nine years old. You have small broken seemingly insignificant memories of your childhood, but that is all. This is the life of Melody Brown. 30-something single mother to a 17-year-old son living in a council flat in London, who is just living life as normal until she starts having memories of a mysterious childhood she didn’t know she had.
After being in a house fire when she was nine she lost all her memories up to that point. Forgetting everything about her family, school life and important parts of her childhood that made her who she is.
This novel slowly reveals the truth of Melody’s life, the reader learns small pieces of information as Melody does. She is learning in her 30s that most of the life she believed is a lie. Despite the unconventional story, the protagonist is realistic, a simple dinner lady who is trying to retrace her steps from the small memories she does have, by visiting people from her life.
Although this book is put into the ‘chick-lit’ category, the details of Melody’s past life, living in a commune with her depressed mother, being passed around different parents, both adoptive and biological, are both harrowing and dark. There also isn’t much emphasis on a romantic relationship, just slight mentions that do not affect the story too much. The strong themes of motherhood and the importance of family are continuous throughout and as a reader you are ever hopeful that Melody will find the truth that she is desperately looking for. It also tells the importance of knowing who you are.
Many of Lisa Jewell’s books are written in a similar way, skipping backwards and forwards through time to carefully reveal the story in a delicate but thought-provoking way to the reader, in a way that makes you not want to put the book down.
About the author: Lisa Jewell
- Born in 1968 in London, where many of novel are set.
- Her first novel was Ralph’s Party which she wrote as a bet, it was then published by Penguin books in 1997.
- She has previously worked as a PR assistant and a PA.