Published by Bloomsbury on 7 December 2021
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Being Tommy's mother is too much for Sonya.
Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy's life is in her hands.
Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O'Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy - forever.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Being the mother of a 3 year old and a 5 year old the premise for this book really interested me.
“Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy’s life is in her hands.”
Loving your child too much, living in fear are totally normal feelings for most mothers, as is needing a glass of wine at the end of the day to cope with the stresses that you’ve faced. But with Sonya, everything is done to the extreme. Loving your child to the point you almost suffocate him. needing that glass of wine so much that it’s gone in one mouthful (followed by 2 further bottles). Sonya’s life is spiralling out of control and she’s taking Tommy down with her causing her neighbour and her father to intervene.
The entire book is told through Sonya’s eyes, we get to experience just what she is seeing and feeling and it is terrifying. For me the thought of potentially losing my child or doing something that would put them in danger would be enough to stop me from progressing down a dangerous path, but when we meet Sonya she is too far gone and the consequences are inevitable.
There are parallels in here with Hansel and Gretel with Sonya likening their neighbour to the witch, but really it was her father and step-mother who reminded me most of their fairy tale counterparts; although Tommy is let down by Sonya I think she is let down the most by her father who seems to have (perhaps not always intentionally) caused her heartbreak throughout her life.
This is a book that plays on your emotions, to see the heartbreak caused by the separation of Sonya and Tommy is very impactful and the journey back to the family dynamic is a tough read