“ Genre: Fiction / Author: Sue Townsend / Edition: New Ed / Paperback / 272 Pages / Book is published 2003-05-01 by Penguin „
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This is a review of the 1997 book 'Ghost Children' by Sue Townsend. I don't know how this book passed my reader as I'm a huge fan of Townsend books! I first thought it might be a children's book, but it isn't, and I'm pleased to report it's one of the best books I've read in ages.
The book follows Christopher a sad and lonely fifty odd year old man who has never got over his first love Angela. The couple still both live in the same town but have something which links their past forever; a child which was aborted too late. Christopher always wonders where the child was buried and mourns for her in ways which make him seem a bit odd.
Angela meanwhile is in a loveless marriage and has put on a lot of weight which is making her miserable. She gets on with her life without enthusiasm and uses sweets and food for comfort. You know that there has to be more to life than this for her.
Interlinked with the story is a young goth couple Tamara and Crackle, and their baby Storme. Tamara and Crackle are not doing their best job of bringing up Storme and risk losing her to social services. Whilst Angela and Christopher begin to reignite their relationship in a small café, their lives intermingle with Tamara and Crackle.
I loved reading this book. It was written with the stoical wit and vision that you expect from Townsend. Touching on quite difficult subjects like abortion and child abuse makes for uncomfortable reading at times but it makes the story line quite unpredictable.
The relationship between Christopher and his dog is so touching, he looks after the dog because it found him but tends to feed it strange and unsuitable meals (although the dog doesn't mind!).
A little confusing in the book is Angela's relationship with her dead child Catherine, who appears as a ghost at times (hence the book's title) but you are never sure if she is imagining it until Angela's husband gets photographic evidence of Catherine but he doesn't understand what he has and no one else sees the photographs anyway.
In the end, there are a few surprises but I won't give them away in this review as it would spoil it if you plan to read the book. It's a well structured book which builds to some great outcomes.
I really enjoyed reading this (I'm sure you can tell from the review) and can't think of any bad points other than a couple of hundred extra pages would have been welcomed! If you come across this book I recommend you should read it. It didn't take me long to read but that is usually a good sign that I am enjoying the read.