Thursday, 17 May 2012

Book Review: The Descendants

Matt King, a descendant to one of Hawaii’s biggest land owners, finds himself taking care of his two daughters alone after his wife, Joanie, falls into a coma after a boating accident. As if he wasn’t going through enough with that, his daughter’s obscure personalities make the situation more difficult for him to grasp. Scottie, aged ten, idolises a girl in her class who acts and dresses like a slutty eighteen year old, whilst Alex, seventeen, is a recovering drug addict who drags a strange lad called Sid into the family picture. Whilst informing famly members and friends that Joanie isn’t going to pull through, Alex drops a bombshell on her father - Joanie was having an affair…
 This novel turned out to be, by far, the most engaging new novel I have experienced in a long time. Considering the severity of the plot line and perhaps the standard sounding list of characters, the novel steered clear from all cliches and possible predictabilities. Hemmings brilliantly wrote a powerfully realistic novel whilst simultaneously making a tragedy lighthearted through refreshing humour. Not once in this novel was a tempted to skim over a sentence or passage; I wanted to absorb every letter on the page. The thought process of Matt is so well constructed that I, as the reader, sunk into the mindset of Matt so swiftly and comfortably that after finishing the novel I felt like I was recovering from an amputation. 
I cannot recommend this novel strongly enough, it is certainly on my list of must reads of 2012, in fact, a book to read before you die. Yes, that’s how affected I was by this short novel. It sits upon my bookshelf with pride, it shall never be facing a charity shop in my lifetime. 

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