Friday, 4 March 2016

BLOG TOUR! // The Woman Who Upped and Left by Fiona Gibson

Published - 25th February 2016
Publisher - Avon
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Forget about having it all. Sometimes you just want to leave it all behind. Audrey is often seized by the urge to walk out of her house without looking back – but she can’t possibly do that.
She is a single parent. She is needed. She has a job, a home, responsibilities…and a slothful teenage son’s pants to pick up. But no one likes being taken for granted – Audrey least of all – so the time has come for drastic action. And no one’s going to stand in her way…

Hello! Whether you're a regular here or just stopping by for the blog tour - welcome to Loaded Shelves :) Today we're celebrating the release of Fiona Gibson's latest book The Woman Who Upped and Left. It's been available for a week now so i'm sure you've heard lots about it. My copy of the book was sent by Avon, so thanks for that!

Fiona Gibson has released a lot of books but strangely, she's an incredibly new-to-me author. I'd seen the online buzz associated with the new book and was so excited to be involved. I don't read an awful lot of 'chick lit' (please let me know a better term for this) but I'm really trying to delve into more 'real life' contemporary reads in 2016. So let's talk about the book, shall we?

What I love most about this book, and others like it, is how comfortable and easy the writing style is. As I said before, it's really down to earth and understandable and absolutely perfect for a relaxing post-work read in the evening. The main character, Audrey, has an awful lot going on in her life. She's been a dinner lady for ten years, has a side job as a carer and is practically single-handedly raising her layabout teenage son on very little funds. Audrey strikes it lucky when she wins the prize of a lifetime, and takes the opportunity to attend a French Cookery course in a Michelin star hotel/restaurant.

Yeah, okay... It did read a little predictable but it really felt like a journey that Audrey took us on. Throughout her various encounters and experiences, she begins to discover herself and what it is she wants from her life. For the most part, I enjoyed the book. I swallowed it up within 2 sittings and found it to be a real page turner as Audrey Pepper is a memorable woman. There were a few points that had me shaking my head though and I think the book would have faired better without them. 

Stevie is Audreys 'sort of' boyfriend. He calls, and Audrey goes running to overnight service stations for some rough 'n tumble and then...nothing. About half way through the book, there's an incident at Audrey's hotel that really had me thinking 'WHAT?! THAT IS NOT OKAY!'. I obviously won't go into detail, no spoilers here, but i'm really surprised at the way it was handled. It was an awful situation that was never really explored in the book. It made a passing comment and came off as though it was trying to be a joke, but to be honest I found it shocking and a huge deal. It should have been left out, or at least discussed to assure readers that this behaviour is really NOT okay.

In addition to this, I related to Audrey as a hard working woman who barely scraped by and enjoyed the smaller things in life. Audrey is portrayed this way throughout the book. I found it so interesting though that at various points Audrey is blindsided by the responsibility of money. At the end of the book, a debt that she has racked up is resolved but in the mean time, she goes out and gets her hair done professionally and intentionally delays the payment. A minor thing of course considering it is fiction after all, and didn't make that much difference to the book in general, but in terms of its 'realness' and relatability, it seemed irresponsible.

Got a bit heavy there didn't it? I apologise. The Woman Who Upped and Left was a fab read and I can imagine a LOT of excellent children buying a copy for Mother's Day at the weekend. Not gonna lie, i'm definitely passing my copy on to my own mum! Lots of important issues are raised and discussed throughout the book and it's great to see things being talked about in Women's Literature.

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