The Emergence of Judy Taylor by Angela Jackson

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The Emergence of Judy Taylor by Angela Jackson

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A very readable story from an author I want to see more of in the future.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: November 2013
Publisher: Canvas
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1472101655

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Judy's life had been the stuff which many others might envy: she'd grown up with friends about her whom she'd known since primary school and married the first man who asked her - but he did seem to be doing rather well. Then one day she discovered a lump. A hard lump. In her right breast. Nerve-racking test followed nerve-racking test, but eventually she was told that everything was absolutely normal. Husband Oli wanted to celebrate. So did her friends. The problem was Judy. Missing the bus home after her hospital appointment she sat in a cafe and thought. She realised that normal was not what she wanted. She wanted something more.

It didn't happen immediately - Judy still had some thinking to do - but she left Oli and moved away from her secure, safe life. The Emergence of Judy Taylor (that's her pre-marriage surname, by the way) is the story of how that came about and what happened next. The breakdown of the marriage just about had me in tears. You see there's nothing wrong with Oli - he's a decent man doing his best but he simply can't understand what has gone wrong. You'll understand Oli though, even when he's not particularly pleasant. You might even - quietly - be rooting for him.

Angela Jackson has a real talent for bringing relationships off the page. Judy and Oli is superb - I felt I was in the midst of it. But when Judy does leave she moves in with Harry (no - it's not what you think - Harry's female, but, er - oh you'd better read the book - Jackson will tell you far better than I can) and that killing difference between getting to know someone at a distance and actually living with their habits comes out beautifully. I laughed - but there's an underlying sadness that brings a lump to the throat.

She's not quite so good with the minor characters - even near the end I wasn't quite certain who some of the small part players were and I ended up flicking back to the beginning of the book. Normally this would worry me, but this is a debut novel and I knew from the first page that this was a writer I would follow. Consider this from the description of Judy and Oli's wedding:

It was the type of wedding where decisions over stationery had been taken slowly, after turning heavy pages of samples and listening to a woman with a geography degree offer her thoughts on crisp white, pure ivory and duck-egg-blue stock.

You know all you need to know about the wedding from that sentence. But read this wonderful description of Oli:

...if you looked into his eyes long enough, you could see his Amazon password, his weakness for the white four inches above a stocking top, and where all the Christmas presents were hidden.

Yes - I would have liked some of the minor characters to stay in my mind a little more. I might even have liked a little more depth in the second part of the story - but what I want most of all is to read whatever Jackson writes next.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy The Good House by Ann Leary.

Buy The Emergence of Judy Taylor by Angela Jackson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Emergence of Judy Taylor by Angela Jackson at

Buy The Emergence of Judy Taylor by Angela Jackson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Emergence of Judy Taylor by Angela Jackson at


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