My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You’ll want to hug someone you love after reading this book!
I’m reviewing Love, Secrets and Absolution, by K.L. Lovely. Here are my thoughts:
^^ Told from alternative viewpoints, Love, Secrets and Absolution is an emotional story revolving around the lives of a couple, Grace and Paul, who are trying to come to terms with the stresses and strains of bringing up an autistic child. But what makes this story different is how it’s set at a time which coincides with the Nottingham miners strikes of the 80s, where pit closures and pay restraints led to unofficial strikes, job losses and violence. Harsh times to say the least. This added a new dimension to the story, and of course, more pressure for Paul, and ultimately the whole family. They were terrible times in Britain, a lot of families suffered because of it.
^^ Right from the beginning we see young Alfie is different to other children. The author, K. L.oveley, helps show us this, by what I thought was a highly unusual technique- giving baby and toddler versions of Alfie his own voice.
^^ I must admit at first I was thinking, this doesn’t sound like a baby. After all, very young babies are not able to communicate in such a coherent manner. However, as I read further, I saw how Alfie’s voice as a child — seeing things differently from his POV — really helped to provide a deeper look into his inner thoughts and feelings. A fresh and unique approach, which revealed his own perspective of how he didn’t fit in with other kids, even if he was unable to understand the “why” himself. Very clever. It certainly made things clearer for me and highlighted aspects of autism I may have missed otherwise.
^^ Taking the time-period into consideration, I found the portrayal of the teachers and the way they behaved cruelly and professionally towards Alfie and Grace shocking, yet realistic. Back in those days many professionals were not trained to spot differences and learning difficulties in the way they are today. To outsiders who didn’t understand what Alfie was going though and thinking, he did just look like a trouble maker. Nowadays we know better and there is an ever-growing awareness and understanding of the many different spectrums of autism.
^^ Alfie’s father, Paul, may not have won the best dad of the year award, but I felt he was a realistic representation of a man living and working in a very masculine environment, where men were largely regarded as the breadwinners of the household and job scarcity was a huge issue. He didn’t know how to handle Alfie, and in a way you can’t blame him for that. Not everyone is capable of being a really good parent, especially when their own life has turned upside down in a blink of an eye.
^^ There’s also a really good story line around a girl called Magenta, which I felt helped strengthen both Alfie and Grace’s bond. A lovely touch. As was Grace’s newfound strength and courage, which really made this story become more than just gloom and doom. Her steadfast devotion to her son is both amazing and commendable, and I enjoyed seeing how she turned her life around.
Overall: This thought-provoking book is as much about relationships, as it is autism. We see the hopes and dreams of a young family shattered by a lack of communication, misunderstandings and even betrayal. Yet, despite all the struggles and heartache this family go through, we discover the true power of love; how it can heal, comfort and carry us forward through the toughest of times. A heart-warming, memorable and most satisfying read. 4.5 Stars.
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Love, Secrets, and Absolution
People in the village gossip about Grace’s son, Alfie.
He’s a lonely boy full of secrets, lies, and obsessive thoughts.
How far can a mother’s love go? Will she ultimately sacrifice her life for his?
Set in Nottinghamshire, this family drama follows the lives of Grace and Alfie as he transforms from a naïve, young boy into a teenager spiralling out of control.
Love, Secrets, and Absolution is a coming of age story with a difference.
Deceit, betrayal, love, and addiction, a family falling apart in the midst of teenage angst and torn loyalties; will anybody find absolution? (less)
Published November 1st 2017 by Globeflower Books