Today’s review comes from Cathy, she blogs at http://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com
Cathy chose to read and review My Grandfather’s Eyes by Bev Spicer
Alex’s story is told, in the first person and present tense and draws the reader into her world of extremely well drawn and distinct, albeit not always likeable, characters that surround her. The narrative begins with the death of Alex’s grandfather, his funeral and the first signs that maybe something about this family is slightly skewed. The heated words Alex overhears exchanged between her mother and father later that night unnerve her although she’s not sure why.
And then, back to the present where Alex’s husband, Richard, is in hospital in a critical condition as Alex waits for news. Thereafter the timeline alternates between past and present giving an insight into Alex’s sometimes irrational thoughts and feelings, or rather the lack of them, since she was a young child.
Alex’s physical appearance, and how it affects herself and others, may have sown the seeds for her heartless, and sometimes callous, behaviour but whatever the reason there are only two people she loves; her grandfather and her best friend since childhood, Lizzy. She selfishly manipulates situations and people, without conscience, to achieve her own desires regardless of any negative effects.
From the beginning of the story it’s apparent Alex has done something appalling but as the story progresses her cold and calculating nature becomes more and more obvious. It’s as though sentiments skim the surface, she does what is expected, and not much actually touches her. She’s always distant and detached and marries Richard with that same mindset, although he loves her deeply. Only her very strong feelings for Lizzy and her grandfather break through the barriers.
It’s an extraordinary novel, given the content, the original take on the main protagonist and making her mostly unlikable and difficult to warm to, as well as the excellent writing leading into ever more complex and multi layered plot lines. The family skeletons are revealed in such a way as to make reading compulsory with the need to know. And, although initially I felt some measure of sympathy for the young Alex, I couldn’t really maintain it. The characters are very well-developed and intertwined in an intensely powerful and dark psychological drama.