Wednesday, 15 April 2015

'The Minnow' by Diana Sweeney (*****)

*WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS*. I was sent a copy of The Minnow by FmCM Associates in exchange for an honest review :)

There haven't been many books that I have finished and had that period of silent reflection where I have thought woah. I flipping wish I had written this. There has to be that tenderness, that intensity, the pull you feel towards the characters that you can't help but get unconditionally drawn to. The Minnow was without question one of those books, for me. In my previous blog post, my interview with the author Diana Sweeney, I explored the idea of the coastal community, and how pivotal it was to the magical, watery atmosphere created in the book. When the setting is so contricted and the characters are confined to the small island that is, inevitably, their world, the stories that they tell intensify to the point of no return. 

The Minnow is a tragically beautiful story following fifteen-year-old Tom and her journey to regaining her sense of self after the tragic flood that devastated her whole world and killed her parents and sister, Sarah. Tom is an unquestionably strong character who has had wrong after wrong after wrong commited to her. Entrusted to family friend, Bill, after the flood, Tom is sexually abused and finds herself pregnant with 'the Minnow'. The events that follow will change her, and everyone else around her, forever. Alongside her best friend and loyal companion, Jonah, Tom realises that she is never on her own.

The Minnow is not only a story about tragedy, however. There is a persistent hopeful tone throughout, as Tom continues to look at the things in life she is grateful for. The childish, slightly broken-sounding Tom at the beginning is radically different from the young woman at the end of the novel, and the reader leaves the story with the feeling that things can only get better. The story is a journey; about acceptance, friendship, and most of all, about moving forward. Sometimes you cannot forget the past, but moving forward with it and changing it into a better future is often the best thing to do.

Tom's strength is infectious, and The Minnow challenges your misconceptions about everything in life. In a world where everything has been turned on its head, Tom remains persistently unwavering, for herself and her baby. The Minnow is a story that doles out misery and hope in equal measure, keeping with the message that nothing is better than the tiny pleasures in life. Family doesn't always come in the category of 'normal', but the family you shape for yourself is often much more important.

You can buy The Minnow here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Minnow-Diana-Sweeney-ebook/dp/B00ILVZ7RQ

Until next time :)