Saturday, 10 June 2017

All The Good Things by Clare Fisher
Release Date: 1st June 2017
Publisher:  Viking
Genres: Fiction

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn't deserve to ever feel good again.

But her counsellor, Erika, won't give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby's head.

But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.

What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone - even a 100% bad person - deserve a chance to be good?

If ever there was a book to make you sit up and take notice and really care about a character then this is the book for you. All The Good Things will challenge your perception of the world and really make you sit up and take notice of those around you. As a social worker who has worked with vulnerable members of society I found this book insightful, heartbreaking and a story that needs to be shared. There's so much I want to say about this book without giving away too much of the story! Its an amazing book and I really loved it.

The main character Beth is in prison. Initially we aren't made aware of why and to be honest it doesn't immediately become one of the things we are desperate to know because straight away the reader becomes emotionally involved with Beth and her early experiences that have brought her to this point in her life. From the onset is becomes clear that Beth has had a pretty miserable life.  Now in prison, it becomes the mission of her counsellor Erika to encourage Beth to confront her past, tell her story and deal with her demons.............and the bad thing. She encourages Beth to write down all the good things in her life and this way a window is opened into Beth's story and her experiences chapter by chapter. Throughout the story I was as anxious about learning about the bad thing as Beth was about facing it. There is such vulnerability with Beth and learning about her experiences we gain some insight in what has lead to the bad thing. Her journey is both heartbreaking, frightening and all too real.

This is an excellent piece of writing and an astounding debut. Clare Fisher managed to push all my emotional buttons with this book. If there's anything other than telling a really important story that this book does, its going to make you look at people differently and have empathy for the world they exist in. If anything, I hope it will make you smile more at strangers and be thankful for the great life you have. Others aren't and haven't been so fortunate. Highly recommended. 

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