To Compromise or Not to Compromise?
Yet again this proves a tough question. We are back to the detail of Sally’s grooming in The Thinking Tank, which we see in detail not, in my view for any salacious reason, but because we have to know just how bad Sally’s situation is to make sense of everything that happens to Sally later in her story.
Once again, I was accused of titillation – and it makes me wonder whether I should compromise on the uncomfortable elements of my new title, Sleeping People Lie (November 2012). I know that what I write at times makes for edge-of-the-seat discomfort – maybe that’s a difficult place for readers to be – but if in watering down, we lose the nub of the catalyst, is that not removing something essential from the message I want to convey? But then I don’t want to offend people and lose readers either – so maybe the honesty should be reined in.
Things like this always make me revisit my ideas – not a bad thing, maybe, but it drives home my own lack of confidence – and that’s an uncomfortable place for me!
I am grateful to Megan from Reading in the Sunshine (find her on FB) for a beautifully measured approach to the issue in her review…
Review of The Thinking Tank
Reading in the Sunshine
The Thinking Tank is made up of two stories in separate times. In 1969, we meet Sally, a young girl who attends church and dreams of playing guitar and performing in the Young People’s Fellowship band. She is soon groomed by Simon, a 22 year old police constable and stalwart of the church. The other story running alongside this is set in 2003, and we meet Sarah, a mother being cared for by her daughter Rebekah. Sarah is just embarking on a new treatment for her Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, having sessions inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber (the `thinking tank’). Their relationship is very complex and appears from the start to be very strained.
The blurb on the back was very intriguing, and I was really excited about starting the book as I was interested to see what lay ahead. I did enjoy The Thinking Tank. I will admit I wasn’t sure about it at the beginning. I found Sally’s story at the start difficult to get through, as the subject matter can be uncomfortable reading. Jae De Wylde did a fantastic job in making the story of Sally’s grooming so realistic as it seemed very real and throughout those sections, I just wanted to reach out to Sally. However, it was so realistic that at times it did make me feel on edge, but I persevered with it and I was glad I did because afterwards the story was even more gripping.
Jae De Wylde has to be complimented on her characters and the interactions they have with each other! Jae effortlessly manages to create such complex and interesting characters and you can’t help but be drawn into their lives and their own personal stories. I was especially hooked by the relationship between Sarah and Rebekah; I enjoyed seeing how their relationship developed and how they dealt with the issues that life threw at them. As characters, they were so beautifully written and a lot of the time I felt as though I was stood next to them watching their scenes play out in front of me. I also want to note that I enjoyed the `relationship’ that Sarah has with the `thinking tank’, I thought that it was particularly well-written and added an extra layer and depth to the tale.
After my initial wariness of the first few chapters, I raced through the book, unable to put it down and I was quite sad to finish it. I must say I am looking forward to picking it up and rereading it all over again. Jae De Wylde has obviously poured her heart and soul into this book and it showed, I felt that every word had been carefully selected and the story did reach out to me, and I found myself connecting with not only the characters but taking in the whole picture. It was descriptive, sensitive, thought-provoking and at times very honest, and I must say I enjoyed every bit.
There were a lot of surprises in this book, the twists and turns were excellently placed and compelled me to read on. It’s not light reading but instead the story flows beautifully, giving the reader a refreshing, honest read that will make you stop and think.
A fantastic novel from Jae De Wylde, and I am very much looking forward to her next one.