The Year of the Rat

23652426Genre: Fiction

Age group: Teens

Author: Clare Furniss

Pearl was content with her ordinary life. Like everyone’s it had bumps and hurdles, for instance she didn’t know who her biological dad was, but why did she need to when for all means and purposes, her step dad was as real to her as any dad could be. He nursed her through nightmares as brushed away her fears. Things were shaping up nicely, until unexpectedly her pregnant mum died. Just like that. In the blink of an eye. Life changing things like that are not suppose to just happen. There is suppose to be time, warnings, preparation, like the build up to christmas. When most people loose a loved one, there is space to grieve and everyone huddles around to ask how they are feeling, if there is anything they can do. Pearl’s loss was not like that, because as one life was lost, a new one was thrust into the world. Rose, Pearls new born baby sister survived the ectopic pregnancy, but she is not the perfect little sister Pear had planned for with chubby cheeks and a heart melting smile upon arrival. She is thin, scrawny, and she might not pull through. To Pearl that would be a blessing because Rose isn’t a baby like everyone thinks, she is a murderer. She is a rat, and it seems like Pearl is the only one who can see it. Pearl didn’t just loose her mum that night, she lost her dad too, now he finally has a perfect little daughter of his own to cherish and nurse through life and Pearl is just a spare wheel expected to be thrilled about the whole thing. Well she’s not. Pearls circumstances become even more crippling, as the ghost of her mum turns up to moan about her own funeral. Desperately wanting her mum to stay, but also resenting her for asking about the rat, Pearl finds herself caught in a situation where she wants her mum to keep coming back, but when she does, there is nothing honest to say. The dialogue between Pearl and her mum is hilarious with fantastic one-liners it adds a great does of humour to the otherwise tragic story. Things go from awful to unbearable when the rat is brought back from hospital and her dad needs to return to work. Pearl is expected to look after the rat and soon hoping she will die so that everyone can just get over it, turns into her responsibility if she does. This book explores the resentment, jealousy and anger that come with expectations about loss and grief. Furniss delivers a very dark plot in a light-hearted manor that left me scoffing and laughing out loud throughout. An enjoyable, but not particularly rememberable read.

I give this book 3/5 stars



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