What’s Left Unsaid is a book I was asked to review by the author herself. It has taken me a while to post this review but I highly recommend that you read this superb novel. It covers the themes so many of us confront in a lifetime like different types of love, parenting, caring, substance abuse, sexuality and baby loss.
What’s Left Unsaid
I remember when I was pregnant with my first child how I told my husband we must never lie to that child. Although my family were amazing in many ways, there would be cover-ups of less palatable truths leading to confusion as I was growing up. Of course, truths usually will emerge often at the worst possible times or in the middle of family strife. Largely I have stuck to being honest with my children even on difficult topics and I hope this was the right thing to do. Even then there are 2 secrets of my own that I do not share.
We have Sasha who a mum juggling work, parenting and caring for her elderly parent as so many of us do. Her son is a teenager with all that that entails. Her husband seems strangely disconnected from his family a lot of the time. Sasha’s mother is ageing fast and also has a long-standing issue with alcohol. A big player in the book is Sasha’s deceased father who has his say on events past and present along the way.
Sasha’s son wants his family to take part in a film project sharing their lives and memories. This inevitably opens us a can of worms as Sasha and her mother Annie are prompted to reflect on their current lives and what has gone before. Traumas are revealed including evacuation during the war, abuse, infidelities all of which fall into that category of what’s left unsaid. Secrets are revealed that will rock each of the characters’ worlds.
Why I loved the book
I liked the book immediately as it hit the ground running and was engaging from the start. As a mum to teenagers myself and someone who has cared for a parent, I could empathise easily with Sasha’s struggles. I loved how the chapters are short and written from different character’s perspectives. I particularly enjoyed Sasha’s dead father’s input as he was at a distance and could take a perhaps more objective view. Also it felt that he had a wisdom that maybe only comes to us fully after death. I enjoyed the big span across different decades and looking how characters are shaped by the historical and personal happenings in their lives. It was good to be reminded that when people act in a less ideal fashion it often is a result of terrible things happening to them in their past. Again these type of things are what’s left unsaid all too often.
I cannot rate this novel highly enough. As I said to a friend, “This is a book I would love to have written myself”. I think that demonstrates that I would definitely give this particular read 10 out of 10.