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  Tom Monahan - Be As One

In so Deep - Tom Monahan

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By Dakota.Me.UK, Oct 16 2016 09:00AM

Beside Myself, Ann Morgan, Bloomsbury 2016

Six year old Helen and Ellie are identical twins with very different personalities. While playing games, they swap places, but later on Ellie refuses to swap back. Very quickly they start to take on each other’s traits, the Helen who was Ellie becoming downtrodden and misbehaving, the Ellie who is now Helen, popular and excelling at school. The new Ellie tries to tell their Mum what has happened but she just doesn’t believe her.

Fast forward years later and the twins have been living as each other for many years. Helen is successful and well known, and Ellie is struggling with mental illness and is living in squalor. But when Ellie finds out Helen has had an accident, is in a coma and her husband needs her help, the invisible pull between them both becomes stronger than ever. Ellis is forced to confront events from the past while Helen is lying in a hospital bed.

It is the flashbacks to the past, when Helen and Ellie are growing up as each other, which are the most chilling and powerful in this book. Their mother is a key character in Beside Myself. This really made me think about how siblings, especially twins, can be brought up by the same parents, but at the same time turn out totally differently – in one sense their upbringing was completely contrasting.

I found the novel so easy to read, and would definitely read more books by Ann Morgan. It really got me thinking about how people treat us growing up, and when we become adults, and the impact that has on our sense of self. Highly recommended!

Purple Poetess

By Dakota.Me.UK, Sep 18 2016 09:00AM

The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood, Bloomsbury 2015.

Stan and Charmaine are a married couple struggling to survive in the modern world. Charmaine works in a bar and they are living in their car. Just when they think there is no way out, they hear about the Positron Project, in the town of Consilience. A stable job and home of their own beckons. But there’s a catch – every other month they have to spend in prison, living in cells and doing prison jobs. It seems a small price to pay, they sign up, and at first life seems perfect.

But as we all know, human nature doesn’t allow us to keep life perfect for long, and soon the sinister side of Positron becomes apparent. Charmaine begins to act self-destructively and Stan wants to get out, but it turns out getting out of Positron is far harder than getting in. Their every move is monitored and they realise just how wide the social experiment goes.

As exhibited in The Handmaid’s Tale and Cat’s Eye, Margaret Atwood’s writing is gripping and as always her vision of a dystopian future is absolutely spot on. The scary part is with constant CCTV and people more and more able to control elements of their lives, there is a part of me which can see this actually happening one day. Disturbing, thought provoking, and utterly captivating, this is a must-read for fans of Margaret Atwood and those new to her writing too.

Purple Poetess

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