Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Truth about Melody Browne by Lisa Jewell

GENRE: contemporary fiction/family drama

When she was nine years old, Melody Browne's house burned down, taking every toy, every photograph, every item of clothing and old Christmas card with it. But not only did the fire destroy all her possessions, it took with it all her memories - Melody Browne can remember nothing before her ninth birthday. Now in her early thirties, Melody lives in a council flat in the middle of London with her seventeen-year-old son. She hasn't seen her parents since she left home at fifteen, but Melody doesn't mind, she's better off on her own. She's made a good life for herself and her son and she likes it that way. Until one night something extraordinary happens. Whilst attending a hypnotist show with her first date in years she faints - and when she comes round she starts to remember. At first her memories mean nothing to her but then slowly, day by day, she begins to piece together the real story of her childhood. Her journey takes her to the seaside town of Broadstairs, to oddly familiar houses in London backstreets and to meetings with strangers who love her like their own. But with every mystery she solves another one materialises, with every question she answers another appears. And Melody begins to wonder if she'll ever know the truth about her past.


I borrowed this book from a friend who recommended it to me warmly and I am so glad she pointed out this book to me because it was an amazing read. This is a life story, completely realistic and the scariest thing about it is that something like this could actually happen to a person, or perhaps it already has.

This is the story about Melody Browne and her quest for the truth. When she was nine years old, Melody lost her memory and she never remembered her life before she was nine, until one evening when she participated in a hypnotist’s show and bits and pieces of her broken childhood years started to come back to her gradually, until the picture became a whole. Her discovery is nothing short of amazing and shocking and Melody realises that she has been the “wrong” person for years. It’s impossible for me to tell you what she discovers because one clue would already be a spoiler, but this novel is very down to earth and it points out one thing that many parents nowadays tend to forget, I’m afraid: whatever you do as a parent, it will undoubtedly affect your child. Parents’ mistakes, self-centredness and inability to re-connect with their child after a family tragedy can bear terrible consequences and Melody was on the receiving end of the mysterious family tragedy that changed her life forever.

People often say that ignorance is bliss, but there are examples when this just isn’t true and Melody’s case is definitely one. Her life might have turned out completely differently if she’d known certain things, but she didn’t, so her life took a different course. Children are often underestimated, but they are often capable of more understanding than adults, so children should always be told the truth, no matter how painful. Children can handle the truth, they just can’t handle lies, and I think Jewell presented this really well. I could not agree more. The most selfish thing a parent can do is to try to bind their child to them forever with lies.

Melody Browne is a great heroine. I haven’t read about such a great, endearing heroine in a long time, and I really felt for Melody and found myself wishing her the best in her life as if she were a real person. She felt real to me, like an ordinary woman you see across the street, but her story is beyond ordinary. She’s a soon-to-be 33-year-old mom who has always been a mom, but never just Melody, especially because of the first nine years that were a blur to her for so long. But it’s great to see Melody’s progress. As she begins to discover the truth about her childhood, she also begins to discover the true Melody that’s been inside her all this time and when her story is complete, when Melody is complete, you can’t help but grin. Her story is sad, but very beautiful and hopeful. By the end I realised that despite all the tragedies, this story is really optimistic. It’s very much like life. There’s rain and there’s sunshine and you just have to live with it. You only have to remember that it never rains forever.

I really recommend this novel to all who love to read stories about life, about families and about individuals discovering themselves.



Vicki said...

I agree with your review... I thought this book was brilliant. One of my favourite by Lisa Jewell, though I like all her work a lot. Great review.

Milka said...

Great review. I have seen this at the both bookstores in my city, and I think I have even held it in my hands, but I am currently trying not to buy books, so I haven't bought it yet.

Steph from fangswandsandfairydust.com said...

I love
"Children can handle the truth, they just can’t handle lies." I think a lot of parents have this come back to bite them you-know-where. And, when you tell your child, that they are good for nothing, as mine often did, it will affect that child for ever. On the other hand without discipline a child will grow up a spoiled brat at best but there are ways and ways and there is always some kind of help available.

This book sounds fascinating. I will put it on my TBR -- where did I put that....

Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

@Rhiana: It is a brilliant book. I will definitely check other books my this author.

@Milka: I hope you get to buy it or borrow it from a library. It's a really good read. And I know, I'm trying not to buy books, too. Trying.;)

@Steph: I'm glad you find the book fascinating. It's too bad your parents told you such things, they shouldn't have. I hope you're still okay!

Jan von Harz said...

Terrific review, it sounds like a great book and I loved your discussion of how ignorance is not always bliss. I love books that have a lot of character development too. Thanks for the review.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

@Jan: Thank you! I'm glad you liked the review. It really is a great book, with great character development and life themes.

Bookalicious Ramblings said...

Yay, so glad you liked the book! I didn't think you'd read it so fast! :D Awesome review too and I totally agree, this book is just amazing!

Blodeuedd said...

Great review. I might have read something by her long ago, and now it seems I should read something again after this

The Insouciant Sophisticate said...

Wow, five stars! I just added this to my goodreads tbr list; your review is so great.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

@Suzana: I know, I didn't think I'd read it so fast, but it consumed me.;)

@Blodeuedd: I hope you get the chance to read this one.

@Bookworm: Yes, five stars!;) I hope you can enjoy it, too.