Book reviews

Review: My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

Going into this book I knew that there would be a fair amount of grief involved in the story. Combined with bullying, alcoholism and split families it’s by no means a lighthearted read, but its hopeful ending does balance things out.

The lives of 5 year old Jamie and his family were quite literally torn apart when his older sister Rose was killed in a terrorist attack in London. Now five years on, Jamie is starting out at a new school having moved to the Lake District with his father and sister Jasmine (Rose’s twin sister). Starting afresh is never easy and it is made all the more difficult in this case as Jamie’s parents have only been separated for just under a year. What’s more, his father is becoming increasingly distant due to his alcohol consumption and continued grief. Jamie has to face all of this with seemingly only the support of Jasmine and his new friend Sunya, but that poses its own problem – after all, “Muslims killed Rose”.

I have to admit that I’m struggling to write this review as it brought up quite a lot of feelings about the breakdown of my own parents’ marriage and how I’ve viewed my dad over the years (in my case my brother and I remained with our mum). Unfortunately that’s making it difficult to see outside of that plot line but I can say that I enjoyed the friendship between Jamie and Sunya, even if it wasn’t exactly of their parents’ approval. There were also some lovely moments between the two siblings. On the negative side I disliked how the bullying of Daniel and Sunya was never really addressed by the school staff. I can only hope that it was dealt with following the final incident that was written about.

I’m still interested in reading Annabel Pitcher’s other books but I’m not sure I’ll get round to them any time soon.

Goodreads rating = 3 out of 5 stars.

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