Friday 7 November 2014

Review & Giveaway: The Other Ida by Amy Mason

I have always loved reading, though lately it is proving more difficult to find the time. I haven’t commuted for three years, and so don’t have that forced reading time carved into each working day. I can try reading whilst looking after Ebony, but it usually turns into a negotiation of me juggling a few pages of my book with at least two whole books of hers, as she looks up at me and patiently explains, once again, that she cannot read yet. On the rare occasions that I am not well and truly exhausted by the time my head hits the pillow, I manage the odd chapter at the end of the day.

I am certain that making time to read improves my quality of life. It lets me escape the toddler tantrums, reminds me of words I haven’t used in ages, and, most importantly, re-ignites my internal monologue. After hours spent reading the thoughts of characters from a book, I inevitably find that my own internal monologue returns to ponder about my daily life.

When I heard that someone I used to work with had won The Dundee International Book Prize award last month, I couldn't wait to read the published book. My copy of The Other Ida arrived last week, and I managed to devour every word within just a few days. It’s just amazing. I am certain that knowing Amy has not clouded my judgement, and this book is truly as amazing as I think it is. After all, how could sharing a hotel room together after a work event, and waking up with my head in the toilet bowl, in anyway make me biased towards Amy's work.

I’ve never really understood how to write a book review without accidentally spoiling the story or only half discussing things whilst being irritatingly vague. So I’m going to try really hard to review the book without doing either of those things.

This book is about fame, family, chaos and secrets. Ida, about to turn thirty, has so far lived a life of destruction, with drink and drugs taking centre stage. As she returns home for her once famous mother’s funeral, she is forced to confront her past, and try to rebuild the relationship with her sister, Alice, who she hasn’t seen for years.

The characters are complicated and real, each one of them likable and dislikable in almost equal measure. The story, set over a number of decades, twists and turns as you make your way through the chapters. The story moves in unpredictable directions, revealing more mysteries or shedding light on the story’s history. The characters, and storyline, are nothing short of intriguing, and you will find yourself desperate to get to the end of the book. The Other Ida is amazing until the very end, and you will get there sooner than you think because who needs sleep when there is a fascinating and destructive family to read about?

The Other Ida by Amy Mason is available at all good bookshops now. You can also buy it here for £8.99.

Cargo Publishing have very kindly given me a copy of The Other Ida to giveaway. All you need to do to enter is fill in the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

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