Last year (2015)‘s PopSugar Reading Challenge included one criteria which I thought was interesting – ‘A book your mom loves’.
Now, firstly, I have to say that I never call my mum my mom. Sometimes my mam, if I’m talking to someone Irish, but very rarely – she’s almost always mum. But that’s not really relevant. Near the end of last year, or the beginning of this year, I asked my mum what her favourite book was, and decided to read that.
So in January (or February?) this year, I read Finishing Touches, by Patricia Scanlan, which is my mum’s favourite book.
Cassie, Laura, and Aileen were schoolmates and best friends, sharing the passions, problems, and aspirations of young women coming into their own. Cassie put her life on hold to attend to her family’s needs while Laura and Aileen soared in their careers. Now they were together again as Cassie dared to start her own business and make her impossible dream come true.
As I read this book, I could totally see why it was my mum’s favourite book. It was something which I think would have really resonated with her – the main characters were around her own age, they did similar jobs to her, had similar life experiences, like losing a parent quite young, and moving to Dublin for work, etc. Although I would hope that some of the other experiences in the book (like having an awful wagon of a sister, and a feckless sod of a fiancé) were very different to what she had.
In any case, as I was reading, I could see why my mum would really like this book. For me, although it was enjoyable, it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read. I like women’s fiction, and I enjoy reading books set in Ireland, plus I like books which follow several different stories as they intertwine – perfectly demonstrated here by the three best friends and their trials and tribulations – but there was something about this book which just didn’t do it for me.
I think it might have been something to do with the jumping timelines, as the prologue and first chapters set up lots of things about how the book would pan out, which I felt spoiled some of the ride. But I guess that was a stylistic choice that just didn’t work for me.
Nonetheless, I’ve read a lot of books my mum really likes, and this is up there as one of the good ones, much better than others I’ve borrowed off her (*cough* The Last Bride in Ballymuir), and I was left satisfied at the end by this chronicle of the lives and loves of three young women in 1990s Dublin. I certainly won’t hesitate to read another Patricia Scanlan if I’m looking for something nice that reminds me of home.