Friday, August 17, 2007

Review: In Search of Adam by Caroline Smailes

For a person who calls herself literary, I do shamefully little reading. As I have written before, unlike others, whom I envy, I find it very hard to read while I'm writing - my own writing is too likely to be influenced - and now that blogging is eating into my non-writing time... So going to Wales, where there isn't even a phone line, is a marvellous chance to catch up on books I've been meaning for ages to read. This time one of the books I read was Caroline Smailes' In Search of Adam.

Well, wow. Sorry about the cliches, but sometime you can't avoid them. This is a book I couldn't put down. This is a book I grabbed the moment I woke in the morning and sat reading for the next hour with a full bladder and an empty stomach. It's sad, no, it's harrowing - a tale of a wretched childhood and damaged adulthood, of loss and child abuse and a cycle of despair - yet it's utterly riveting in its psychological precision and manipulation of language, and let me tell you, it's the first convincing depiction I've ever read of the psychological underpinnings of bulimia, and a searing indictment of the way the medical profession deals with it. So it's a very brave book too, and not least in its depiction of the damaging forces at work in a working-class community. I can imagine that many would make objections to this last, but for me the whole thing rang with a truth that would make such objections sentimental.

Read it, is all I say.

6 comments:

Sally Lawton said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Hope you're well.
I've heard so many good things about this book - have you been on the website? It's great. I'll have to get a copy of it asap.
Great news about your book of short stories too.
Hope you've got lots of rest since the festival - I was in a daze for a week after it!!!
x

Elizabeth Baines said...

Hi Sally,

Yes, Caroline's website is great - and her publishing story is very interesting: her publisher (The Friday Project) came across her website, and immediately snapped her up! Because of this, she's been invited to read at the Manchester Blog Awards for the Manchester Literature Festival on Oct 10th - and I'm really looking forward to that.

I was in a daze too after the festival (well, I still am, as I've just been on a three-day night film shoot, so I don't know whether I'm coming or going). I can't tell you the number of people who told me how great they thought your play Bang Bang! was!
x

Sally Lawton said...

Wow, what a great publishing story.
The Manchester Blog Awards sound great and your new project sounds brilliant, good luck with it.

That's nice that you've heard nice things about Bang-Bang! I'm not trying to change the world with my writing, just want people to have a good giggle.

After 3 yrs of rejection letters, as of this Monday, I've signed with a literary agent for my teenage novel - I'm so happy!

Elizabeth Baines said...

Hey, Sally, that's great that you've got an agent for your book! Congratulations, and good luck with it - I'm sure it's fantastic.

Sally Lawton said...

Thanks Elizabeth,
Good luck with your blog story. I'm looking forward to reading it.

xx

Elizabeth Baines said...

Thanks Sally! x