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BOOK REVIEW: All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon

BOOK REVIEW: All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon

Hodder & Stoughton
March 2017
Paperback, $22.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Fiction 

5/10

Caitlin’s life is a mess. Her marriage to a man everyone else thinks is perfect has collapsed, along with her self-esteem, and breaking free seems the only option.

Nancy, her four-year-old daughter, used to talk all the time; in the car, at nursery, to her brother Joel. Then her parents split up. Her daddy moves out. And Nancy stops speaking.

Nancy’s Auntie Eva, recently widowed and feeling alone, apart from the companionship of two bewildered pugs, is facing a future without her husband or the dreams she gave up for him.

But when Eva agrees to host her niece and nephew once a fortnight, Caitlin and Eva are made to face the different truths about their marriages – and about what they both really want . . .

 

All I Ever Wanted offers up a sweet story about families, changing relationships, and grief.

What with Caitlin and Patrick separating, Nancy not speaking, big brother Joel acting as a communication go-between for her, and Aunt Eva (Patrick’s sister) dealing with the recent loss of her husband – often through vocalising what she feels they’re thinking as her late husband used to do – there is potentially a lot to unpack here.

Eva doesn’t know the kids particularly well, or how to deal with kids in general, but when she is left to watch them in the time between one parent dropping them off and the other picking them up, something changes. 

So we have the parents dealing with the reassessment of how their broken family works now, Eva who’s coming to realise that the rest of her life is not meant to be spent in grief, and Nancy who is holding something deep inside which is affecting her at school, with family, and out in public.

To be sure, readers who have gone through or are going through similar situations are bound to find something to relate to here, and I for one related to the way Eva spoke with Bumble and Bee as this is not dissimilar to the “conversations” we have with our own dog.

But there’s just not a whole lot about this one that is memorable or different from the range of options already available. 

Due to its super-sweet nature yet serious struggles for the characters, this might make a good holiday read for someone who wants a little bit of substance or grit in a quick and heartwarming read.

 

BOOK REVIEW: All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon

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