Good Books

In the last week I’ve read two books that were so good I was pinned to the sofa with my legs crossed when I needed to go to the loo. The first was ‘The Brightest Star in the Sky’ by Marian Keyes the second was ‘Picture Perfect’ by Jodi Piccoult. After Marion Keyes’ last book ‘This Charming Man’ I wasn’t too keen on buying the next one. ‘This Charming Man’ was so damned depressing that I wanted to burn it or throw it in a bin. I’d nearly lost my faith in Ms. Keyes, but only nearly. When my lovely sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said ‘The Brightest Star in the Sky’, willing to give one of my favourite authors another chance. At first, I was bored and felt like ditching the thing. Who cared about a collection of individuals living in an old house that was converted into flats? However I plodded on, trusting Marion not to disappoint me. She didn’t. The story of Maeve and Matt sneaks up on you. It’s brilliant, under stated and truthful. It highlights the devastation of crimes against women, and the pathetic judicial system that is ours. I sat up straight when I realised that Marion Keyes was sending a message of hope to women who’ve been hurt by men, and telling them that she understands. I feels so grateful that Marion exists. Yes, she makes a fortune with her writing, but I don’t think that’s her objective. She wants to make a difference, she wants to highlight what is unfair and just plain wrong in our society. She makes me feel safer, and Marion has become a heroine of mine.
Another one is Jodi Picoult. I read ‘Picture Perfect’ yesterday, pretty much from start to finish. Like ‘The Brightest Star in the Sky’ it doesn’t start off too well. The opening couple of paragraphs were good but soon after I would have lost interest if it wasn’t Christmas and I didn’t have time on my hands. However as I read on, I saw that this book has also got a message. It shows, in a way that I have never been able to understand before, why a woman stays with a man who beats her. She loves him completely and utterly, exactly as I love my husband, and when he hits her, he is so filled with remorse that she cannot bear to see it, and tries her best to comfort him so he won’t feel so bad about it. It’s brilliant. It’s real, and the ending is not predictable. Jodi Piccoult is, in my opinion, a genius, and I was lucky enough to tell her so last year in Dublin when I met her. Marion Keyes is one too. And not only that, they’re both concerned about the rest of us. That’s the kind of writer I want to be.