Thursday, 24 May 2012

Book 35 of 2012: Bad Blood

Bad Blood by Lorna Sage was the penultimate book in the Stranger Than Fiction… set that I’ve been working my way through since the end of last year. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect from it as the blurb on the back didn’t give me much to go on. Now I can kind of see why the blurb was a bit vague, it’s a bit of a tricky book to explain. It’s a book about Sage’s grandparents and parents, which sort of explains how they influenced her and how she became the person she was… or something like that.
Considering I wasn’t sure what to expect from it and I didn’t know what it was actually about, I found myself really enjoying it. In some ways it reminded me of Cider With Rosie, though I couldn’t say exactly what it was that did, except perhaps the fact that it was largely an account of a rural childhood and so I found myself drawing parallels with that.

I really liked the inclusion of the photographs. There’s something nice about seeing photos or pictures of the people that are being described in a book like this. You don’t expect it in a fiction book because the very nature means you’ve got to conjure the picture yourself, and personally, I quite like being able to come up with my own mental images without being influenced by anyone else’s interpretation. But with non-fiction books I like to see who it is I’m reading about. Plus there’s something about family photos, everyone seems to have similar photos; the perky primary school snapshot, the family in the garden, the wedding photos.

By the time that the book came to a close, I’d really gotten into the story of Sage’s life. It goes on to describe her pregnancy and daughter, which I really wasn’t expecting from the beginning of the book, but then it sort of ends just when it’s really getting interesting. I would have liked to have known more about her later life, about university and about her relationship with her daughter’s father.

I do like reading biographies, there’s something fascinating about peeking into someone else’s life and learning about what their life was like. It’s really interesting to see how different, or similar, your own life is. I suppose it’s a little voyeuristic too, getting a glimpse into the world of someone else. That said, this probably wouldn’t have been one I would have picked up for myself, especially based on the blurb alone, but I’m glad that I’ve read it now.
We’d been taught in Miss Myra’s class to do addition and subtraction by imagining more cabbages and fewer cabbages. Every time I did mental arithmetic I was juggling ghostly vegetables in my head. And when I tried to think of minus one I was trying to imagine an anti-cabbage, and anti-matter cabbage, which was as hard as conceiving of an alternative universe.
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