Roxy by Esther Gerritsen and Michele Hutchison (translator)
|Roxy by Esther Gerritsen and Michele Hutchison (translator)|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Kate Jones|
|Summary: An interesting concept for a novel; drew me in, but left me ultimately not satisfied.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 192||Date: April 2016|
|Publisher: World Editions International|
I liked the premise for this novel: a young wife (Roxy) is told at the beginning of the book that her much older husband has been killed in a car accident. To add to the shock of this, the revelation that he died in the arms of his (naked) lover in the car, on the hard shoulder, is a further blow to Roxy. I found this an interesting set-up for a story, and wondered how this was going to go. As the blurb on the back of the novel tells us, she is looking for revenge, I thought the book would be a development of the character of Roxy into a self-motivating, strong character. But this wasn't the case.
Roxy, it turns out, has always been a bit of a helpless young woman, her husband married her ten years ago when she was just 17 and wanted to escape her alcoholic mother and truck driver father. She wrote a bestselling book when she was only an adolescent, and this gave her a certain amount of fame. She has, it seems, been holed up these past ten years mostly in the attic of their home, writing more books, which she constantly tells us need re-writing.
I think the point of Gerritsen in creating the character of Roxy is to show us she is a grown woman who has never actually grown up. She has escaped her parents for her older lover, then husband, who has then taken care of her. She has apparently retreated almost completely from public life, allowing him to take junior interns to social gatherings, yet claims she never suspected he was having affairs. She has Roxy then take off on a crazed holiday with her three year old daughter, whom she seems at turns to adore, and then wish to off-load; her daughter's babysitter; and her husband's personal assistant, an older woman who constantly takes control of the situation.
The character of Jane (the personal assistant), and Liza, the babysitter, are far more interesting characters than Roxy herself, in my opinion. The ill-fated holiday is seemingly an example of Roxy trying to exact some kind of revenge by sleeping with creepy men (several of them during the course of the book), much to the disgust of the other two women, and a crazy episode in a field with a flock of sheep. I failed to see the point of Roxy's character development, in which she seemingly willingly encourages her child away from her and into the arms of Liza. I think Gerritsen is trying to give us here a flawed, insecure woman, who has never taken responsibility for her own life or her child's, and show how she pushes the grief of her loss away in favour of self-destruction and revenge. But I am not sure, because I honestly struggled to gel with the protagonist Roxy at all. I found her silly, unbelievable and irritating. I wanted a stronger, feistier woman to emerge by the end of the book.
That said, the book is easy to read, and would be the kind of novel you could take on holiday. It is fast-paced and at times, amusing. The ending was a little contrite and disappointing, I felt, but kind of what I expected it to be.
If you enjoy this book, you might like: The Dyslexic Hearts Club by Hanneke Hendrix and David Doherty (translator)
You can read more book reviews or buy Roxy by Esther Gerritsen and Michele Hutchison (translator) at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Roxy by Esther Gerritsen and Michele Hutchison (translator) at Amazon.com.
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