All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Lifesaving For Beginners – Ciara Geraghty Read-a-long Discussion Pt 3 & Wrap Up

on February 25, 2013

Lifesaving For BeginnersHello everyone and welcome to the final part of the discussion for Lifesaving For Beginners by Ciara Geraghty. Reactions to this book have been mostly positive it seems, with a few who haven’t enjoyed it as much as others. I was enjoying the book so much that after I finished Part 2, I wrote the post right away and then finished it that night. I had to know what happened. Once again, please be aware that if you’re not finished, there will be ***SPOILERS***

If last week was about Denial and the question of Doing The Right Thing, then it seems that this week is about Recognition and Redemption. Kat has an almighty scare when her younger brother Edward, who is disabled, is admitted to hospital with an acute arrythmia, which was mostly likely the result of the congenital heart condition. He has surgery and is fitted with a pacemaker and makes a good recovery but Kat spends most of the time Ed is in surgery, making “bargains” for his recovery, although she won’t admit to whom she is bargaining with. Perhaps she doesn’t really know or she doesn’t want to acknowledge the fact that she does know. When Kat is told that Ed’s procedure went well, she has a panic attack. For Kat, it’s like the dam has burst and in a second she realises and accepts the mistakes she has made and where she has gone wrong. She takes responsibility for Thomas, for Faith, for a lot of things.

She confesses to her editor that she hasn’t written the next novel, she tells her family that she is Killian Kobain and she has someone organise a press conference so she can tell the world the same. She also admits to having adopted out a baby when a teenager, thereby beating the blackmailer to the punch and taking back the power they previously had over her. While the press is besieging her parents home, Kat makes plans to go and finally see Faith. Faith doesn’t make it easy for her but the end of the book, which takes place a little later shows that they’ve manage to forge some relationship.

Were you satisfied with the ending? If not, why?

What do you think Milo’s role in the story was? Do you think that without him, Kat and Faith would have been able to connect?

Was Kat redeemed as a character? Did you like her/identify more with her at the end of the novel than you did at the beginning? Do you think she evolved in a believable way?

For those that enjoyed this novel, if you haven’t before, will you be reading any of Ciara Geraghty’s backlist/her future novels? Has this read-a-long introduced you to a new sort of book and a new novelist that you might wish to read more of?

I’d like to thank everyone that took part again here with me, I do enjoy reading books with other people and hearing your thoughts and opinions. We all see things in many different ways and I find other people’s perspective interesting. It can be hard, so I do appreciate those that take the time to comment on my discussion posts or post their thoughts on their own blogs each week and keep things going. Thanks also to the fab team at Hachette AU who put the group together again and provided us with our books.

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12 responses to “Lifesaving For Beginners – Ciara Geraghty Read-a-long Discussion Pt 3 & Wrap Up

  1. I enjoyed this book – some of the coincidences and elements of the plot were a little far-fetched but overall the characetrs were fantastic (even if you weren’t a huge fan of Kat’s). I didn’t mind Kat as a character so didn’t have strong feelings about her change at the end – it was predictable but nonetheless enjoyable to read.

    Milo’s role was huge – I’m not sure Faith and Kat would have been able to connect without him but equally as significant was the connection that Milo and Ed made – fleeting but important, especially given that Kat had time for people that had time for Ed.

    I also really liked the character of Minnie – she gave me lots of laughs and there were a few excellent scenes with Kat and her parents that also made me laugh (particularly in the car dodging the press).

    I hadn’t read any of Ciara Geraghty’s books before and was interested to see the comparisons to Marian Keyes. This book was very much like early Keyes (a good thing because I haven’t been as much of a fan of her more recent books).

    See my wrap-up review here: http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/lifesaving-for-beginners-by-ciara-geraghty/

    • I agree that there were some coincidences where you really had to just ‘let it go’. I wasn’t much of a fan of Kat’s but I did find myself liking her a little more as the novel went on. I think what did happen to her at 15 did damage her psyche in some very big way. That’s a lot for someone to have to deal with, even when it would be all out in the open. Shuttered away like that, it was bound to come bubbling out and create problems later in life.

      Milo for me was the glue. I think without that phone call to Kat when Ed was in the hospital, it’s questionable if she’d ever have gotten the courage to admit to Faith at all, let alone publicly and to then go and see her. Milo combined with Ed gave Kat the realisation and courage she needed. Milo’s courageous innocence was a real high point of the novel for me. I enjoyed him immensely as a character and I especially liked the way in which people were drawn to him. His blossoming friendship with Ed was rather lovely.

      There was one aspect that did leave me feeling a bit flat and that was the reveal of the blackmailer. I feel as though it was built up to be more personal than it turned out to be and I’m not sure if that was my fault, if I built it up in my mind as a point of interest or not. I did feel that the reveal for it was very disappointing and anticlimactic.

      I haven’t read any of Geraghty’s books before either but I have to admit, I do have a fondness for Irish books of this “chick/women’s lit type”. A lot of people don’t like those terms but I do love Keyes, Cathy Kelly’s novels, Kate Thompson’s etc. I seem to find the humour in them much more to my liking than their American counterparts.

      Thanks for taking part Kate and always providing the discussion with lots of comments 🙂

  2. Susan says:

    Well I guess I just didn’t connect with this book. I found the whole story a little thin, predictable and unrealistic. There was drama where there should have been introspection; dismissal when there should’ve been knockout drama. The unveiling of Killian Kobain was ridiculous and the final reunion between Faith and Kat was a little irrational. Although I must admit, I’m glad that mother and daughter didn’t run into each other’s arms in a perfect happy ending – that would have been even worse!

    I think the most interesting characters were Ed and his parents. They had the least said about them in the descriptions but, regardless, they came to life most prominently for me.

    If I had to describe the novel I would have to say it is a ‘nice’ read, nothing more. There was opportunity to take the plot somewhere darker or murkier–or even more tear-tugging–but it just seemed to tread along going nowhere interesting at all. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect everything I read to be cerebral or challenging but I found this particular book too whimsical for my taste. I feel like I’ve just read a detailed chapter synopsis in preparation of the big rewrite where all of the essential detail gets scratched in.

    Still, as always, I loved the experience of joining in with the discussion here. Many thanks to Bree, Hachette AU and everyone who stopped by to chat. It has been a pleasure.

    • I did like the fact that at the end, it was still obvious that Kat and Faith were finding their feet with each other. You don’t get to know someone instantly and there’s a lot of angst and awkwardness that they’re going to have to work through (and were probably working through while Kat was writing that novel). I’m so-so about “x months later” endings sometimes, because I feel like they can leave out crucial things. But I think the journey for Kat and Faith was finding each other and how that came about.

      I liked Ed as well and Kat’s parents did interest me. I found them to be very unusual in terms of being parents – the way in which their mother treated them especially.

      What sort of books do you usually like to read Susan? Thank you for continuing to take part each week and leaving your thoughts, even though the book wasn’t always working for you, it’s always good to get different perspectives and for us to all be able to share them in a friendly way.

      • Susan says:

        You know, I wouldn’t have a clue what books I like to read; it has been a long time since I read a book for pleasure! Too busy reading review copies and preparing criticism. I guess it is the curse of being a critic – enjoyment is always compromised by analysis!

  3. I enjoyed the book at the end – Kat’s turnaround, although a little far fetched, was what I’d been waiting to see. I got the happy endings that I wanted – Faith and Kat reunited, Milo happier (and still lifesaving) and Thomas reappearing.

    I’d love to see Minnie in a novel of her own – she was a great minor character! And more of Ed, of course (including some Mario Kart tips).

    The hype around Killian Kobain I thought was okay – it’s a big mystery, sort of like if we didn’t know who J.K. Rowling was. I do think George Clooney should have made an appearance at the press conference though, see as he was interested in the Declan Darker movies!

    While this wasn’t my favourite Ciara Geraghty book (it’s still Saving Grace), I liked reading it. It was comfortable, interesting and not too taxing (always important after a run of nights). I think this marks her work changing from ‘chick lit’ to more of a general fiction. She’s taking on bigger topics and definitely doing them justice.

    Thank you Bree for hosting the readalong and Hachette for providing the books. I actually find the readalong more thought provoking than my book club because you all bring up such interesting points and the topic never degenerates into 50 Shades of Grey (again, unlike my book club)!

    My final thoughts after finishing the book are here:
    http://samstillreading.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/lifesaving-for-beginners-by-ciara-geraghty-readalong-week-3/

  4. luvzalkemy says:

    I found myself enjoying the book more by the middle. I probably had a different take on Kat to the others. Once I knew she had had a baby at fifteen, I knew that she must have locked herself up emotionally in order to cope. And the accident certainly didn’t help. I was sad that on both occasions she didn’t really have the support she needed. The section on falling pregnant was done really well I thought – it really took me back to that swirl of emotions at that age. But how could Kat’s mother not have noticed? Perhaps in the end she had some insight into how things could have been done better. But I spent quite a bit of time being cross with her.

    Milo did have a big role to play in the book and I think possibly some of his scenarios were a bit far fetched. But he is a lovely character and I’d love to see more of him.

    My favourite character was Ed. I think he was beautifully drawn and I love the way a relationship developed between Ed and Milo. I felt for Ed and Kat’s father too. His (belated) attempts to do the right thing were very sweet.

    I understand where Susan is coming from and I agree there are some things I think could have been done better – fewer coincidences for example; the book didn’t need them. But I would still recommend the book – there is plenty to enjoy and a bit to think about.

    Thanks Bree for hosting the read-a-long and thanks Hachette for providing the books. It’s so much fun seeing what other readers think.

  5. abutcherswife says:

    Do you think you will be having another read-a-long? I’m a new follower and would be interested in this.

  6. writenote1 says:

    I got so caught up in re-doing my blog that … I forgot!

    I enjoyed this book the more I read, especially once things started to come together. I think the ending came together well, though it was a bit far-fetched. Love the quote from Kat about her Declan Darker character: “Maybe I could retire him … I could even marry him off. Maybe he finally meets someone? Falls in love? Gets happy? Why not? That sometimes happens. Doesn’t it?” It’s as if she’s trying to convince herself that she can have a happy life, despite all the darkness. The ending left a nice feeling, an all-will-be-well feeling that gives hope.

    I liked the parallel between Milo/Faith and Ed/Kat. Sometimes it takes a child (or a person with child-like thinking) to help adults see the obvious – they look at the world without the veils of complexity we wear. I think Faith’s pride would have stopped her from being able to reconnect with Kat after she was ignored during her trip to Ireland. Milo was the lynchpin for them.

    Bree, I also felt let down by the identity of the blackmailer. I kept trying to guess and it did seem personal … it was a bit anti-climactic. However, I did like that the Faith/Kat situation wasn’t rushed. It would have seemed too Hollywood if everything had just been perfect.

    Like Bree, I do have a liking for Irish-based chick-lit. I don’t mind Marian Keyes, but she’s not my favourite. I don’t know why. Will I read more of Ciara Geraghty’s backlist/her future novels? Sure will.

  7. writenote1 says:

    PS. Thanks Hachette for the books and Bree, you do such a great job with hosting.

  8. […] know more about how they work, here are the links to our comments each week: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. Beware of […]

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