Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
|Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley
|Category: Women's Fiction
|Reviewer: Sue Fairhead
|Summary: Light-hearted fiction featuring two sisters who decide to embark on a year's correspondence via the international mail.
|Date: April 2016
|Publisher: Text Publishing Company
|External links: Author's website
'Keep me Posted' is written in a light-hearted, informal style, narrated by a young mother called Cassie who lives in New York. She and her husband Leo have twin toddlers, and her life is busy, full of technology and fast food. Her older sister Sid is more laid back, and something of a technophobe; although they used to be close, they haven't really been in touch much since Sid and her family moved to Singapore.
They spend a late evening together over Christmas, and decide to write and post real letters to each other for a year. It feels a bit awkward at first but they soon start writing about their feelings, and fantasies, and day-to-day lives in honest detail. Cassie doesn't quite trust the international mail, so she decides to scan all the letters, both the ones she sends and the ones she receives, so that she has a copy on her computer. And then she decides to make a backup on a private blog…
The first half of the book follows Cassie's life, interspersed with a few of the letters that are exchanged. I could relate to her quite well as a stressed mother, wanting to do what was best for her sons, but finding the noise and chaos overwhelming at times, and wondering how other acquaintances with children make it all seem so easy. I got a bit muddled with some of her friends, whose characters weren't particularly developed, and kept forgetting who was who, but it didn't matter over-much since the main story is Cassie's.
On the other hand I couldn't relate at all to her spending sprees, which never seem to matter although she racks up enormous bills. Nor did it seem believable that she seems to 'grab' food cooked by someone else every day, whether takeaways or local fast food places. I thought this was a caricature of American culture; perhaps there's some truth in it.
Then suddenly everything changes. What happens is somewhat inevitable; I could see it coming, although not all the ramifications, nor the way it happens. Cassie's marriage is threatened, and she's worried that her sister might start to hate her. I could barely put the book down in the second half, as events spiral out of control, although the last few chapters lead to an entirely satisfactory conclusion.
The writing is very good, if a tad too peppered with profanities for my tastes. Sometimes I find an overly informal style to be a bit irritating, but the author has got it just right, in my view. I assume the intended audience is rather younger than me: the main characters are in their late twenties or early thirties. I enjoyed it very much despite being in my mid-fifties and not having a smart phone, but then I use the Internet and write blogs and also feel sad about the loss of real letters. However I know of some women my age and older who - like Sid - know almost nothing about the Internet, and I suspect that parts of this book would go over their heads entirely.
There's not a whole lot of plot, as it's really a character-based novel, but there's plenty of action and I found myself growing quite fond of Cassie's boisterous and inventive twins. It would make ideal holiday reading; it doesn't need much thought, and it's not necessarily a book I'll read again, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Many thanks to the publishers for sending this novel to The Bookbag.
If you like stories featuring women who find themselves caught up in situations where they cannot find a way out, you might also like The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. For another novel featuring letters, you could try More Than Love Letters by Rosy Thornton.
You can read more book reviews or buy Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley at Amazon.com.
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