The Home Corner by Ruth Thomas

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The Home Corner by Ruth Thomas

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A girl who fails her exams is left behind by her peers, and starts an unsatisfying job in a primary school, in a book that's not dynamic, but is a bit interesting.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Faber and Faber
ISBN: 978-0571230617

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When you finish your Highers, you’re supposed to go on to university, especially if you’re a girl like Luisa. But she’s failed hers, so for now higher education is out, and working is unfortunately in. So, she finds a job working as a classroom assistant in a primary school. It’s not something she ever wanted to do, and she finds herself in a weird sort of limbo, at a life stage somewhere between the children in her class, and her proper grown-up adult colleagues.

I liked this book from the start because of Luisa’s narration, a mix of somewhat detached observations mingled with meandering trains of thought. It’s a little bit quirky, but she endeared herself to me quickly. Parts of the story are more serious than they are entertaining, and yet the whole thing has a whimsical quality to it, and a humour which permeates.

Luisa is a normal girl, of the kind sometimes missing from books like this – she is neither an overly articulate, literary narrator like in Every Day, Every Hour, nor a simple one like the title heroine of Dear Lucy by Julie Sarkissian. She is educated, to a degree, and had potential to go further than she has, but while a mixture of circumstances have prevented her doing so, she’s not lost her upbringing (and grammar) in the process.

The book’s descriptions are detailed and easily portray Luisa’s working environment and home life to the extent that you feel like you’re sitting in the Home Corner too, pondering the complexities of life. It’s not an action packed story, because Luisa doesn’t have an action packed life. She is a girl without much direction at this point in her life, and the story mirrors her in the way it drifts along. She has been left behind by her old friends, all off to adventures and pastures new while she simply exists. She feels in turns doomed and worthless - she even says as much - but she still maintains a certain humour in her view of situations, even when things don’t quite turn out as they should.

This is the sort of book you’ll enjoy if you like to think about things and people, and reflect on situations rather than have everything served up on a platter, no contemplating required. There are many levels to the story that make it an interesting read, but it loses a few little stars for the lack of action and drive in places, as I felt it was a bit tame and could have gone further.

Thanks go to the publishers for providing a review copy.

For a different kind of life crossroads, The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell is worth a look.

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Buy The Home Corner by Ruth Thomas at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Home Corner by Ruth Thomas at


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