Hello everybody! Welcome to the first of three discussion posts that we’re going to have on Lifesaving For Beginners by Ciara Geraghty which has been kindly organised by the lovely folks at Hachette AU. I’ll just preface this by saying that both the discussion post and the comments will contain ***SPOILERS*** so if you have not yet completed Part 1 of the read-a-long, which was pages 1-149 you may want to avoid this post until you’re done. Okay!
How is everyone liking the book? I have to say, the opening sucked me in immediately. We had a combination of a fatigued truck driver and a deer on the road that caused an accident which took the life of one woman and injured another. Our two narrators are Milo, a 9yo boy who lost his mother in the accident and is now in the care of his older sister, and Kat a writer writing under the name of a pseudonym who wasn’t severely injured but is finding it hard to cope out of hospital. She should be delivering the latest installment of her Declan Darker crime series but instead she finds herself suffering writers block. And Milo has discovered this older sister was adopted and isn’t in fact his sister at all. His father ran off with a younger woman, who is now pregnant and his twin brothers are away in London at University. Life has changed incredibly for Milo and it seems that the only thing that keeps him grounded is his lifesaving for beginners class, which he looks forward to every week and.
Is the dual narration working for you? I know sometimes I struggle with them, because it can be hard to balance out each story as they run parallel to each other in pacing, etc. Especially when your narrators are as different as Kat and Milo are and I think Geraghty has done a great job with these opposing voices. I’m really enjoying both the uniqueness of Milo’s voice and his matter-of-fact telling of what is happening around him. I feel so incredibly sorry for him – he’s lost his mother, the most important person in his world and his father can barely be bothered with him, living in Scotland with his new girlfriend and expecting a baby. I have to say, I think that announcing the pregnancy after the funeral of Milo’s mother was one of the most insensitive things I’ve ever heard. Is there anyone out there that would actually think this would be a good idea? I feel for Faith, Milo’s older sister too. She’s dealing with an awful lot. I don’t think it’s been mentioned how old she is, but I’m guessing around 23 or 24. She says she remembers her mother being pregnant with the twins and they’re at University so I’m guessing they’re around 19. She’s had to deal with losing her mother and now having the responsibility of bringing up her younger brother, something that is beginning to conflict with her band and cause trouble in her relationship with her boyfriend. On top of that, Faith found out that she was adopted and is now searching for her adoptive mother. She has a huge amount on her plate and I find myself becoming very immersed in her story, told through the eyes of Milo.
Kat is quite a different character altogether, not immediately sympathetic other than being the innocent victim in the accident. Her treatment of her boyfriend Thomas is quite harsh (as it seems to have been since day 1 actually, but she really ups the ante out of hospital) but I got the feeling later on in this particular section that Kat’s demons are about to come out. Samstillreading and I also find ourselves quite interested in Declan Darker! We agreed that they sound like books we’d love to read. I always find a story within a story fun and I hope we get more about Declan along the way. How do you all feel about Kat? Do you feel sorry for her? Do you want to give her a bit of a shake and tell her to snap out of it? Can you see her and Thomas reconnecting at any stage within the book?
Okay this turned out to be quite a bit longer than I expected. Only 150 pages in and already a lot has happened in this one and I think it’s a good choice for a read-a-long. Going to turn it over to you all in the comments now, so don’t forget to leave your thoughts and raise anything I may have forgotten.