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

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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Lifesaving For Beginners – Ciara Geraghty Read-a-long Discussion Pt 2

Lifesaving For BeginnersHello everyone and welcome to the second part of our discussion. Thank you to all who took the time to drop by last week and comment and leave their thoughts and contribute to the discussion. Again, this post will contain ***SPOILERS*** up to page 296.

Part 2 revealed what a lot had already suspected: Kat is Faith’s birth mother. Pregnant at 15, she didn’t even realise until she was into her 7th month. I hear about these people but in the 2 times I’ve been pregnant I’ve looked like a person with a beach ball wedged up my top and both my babies have kicked the living bejeesus out of me. So I’m never going to have one of those pregnancies that takes me by surprise with a mere 6-8wks to go! Kat’s mother didn’t find out until she was in labour and she made the decision that Kat should give the baby up for adoption. She felt it was the best thing to do.

Faith, having gotten the address of her birth mother (via Milo, in the first section of the book) took herself off to Ireland, Milo in tow to attempt to meet the woman who gave birth to her. This didn’t go so well, as Kat refused to turn up to her parent’s place where Faith was waiting.

In other news, Thomas learned that Kat had a baby and Kat learned that Thomas is getting married. And someone is blackmailing Kat with the knowledge that she is the author of the Declan Darker series.

Two things stood out at me reading this section. They were DENIAL and DOING THE RIGHT THING. It seems that Kat lives a life of denial – she never thinks of the baby she gave birth to (she didn’t even know if it was a boy or girl, she never saw it, never held it, never wanted to). She doesn’t want to deal with Faith’s appearance in her life now – she could have gone around to her parent’s and used that as a way to meet her in the company of others, which may have made it easier. But instead she ran away and that seems to be what Kat is doing these days. She’s holing up in her apartment, drinking too much wine, eating too much take out, unplugging the phone, not working on her novel. She even applies this form of denial to her relationships – she refuses to see how she cares for Thomas, or acknowledge it. Perhaps if she did, it would put her in a position where she would need to move forward, perhaps get married, or entertain the idea of children… and all of that would bring about memories Kat has kept firmly locked away.

Likewise there’s several mentions of doing the right thing – Kat’s mother tells her that she thought adoption was the right thing at the time, but now all of these years later, she’s not sure that it was. Faith’s aunt tells her that her adoptive parents didn’t tell her that she was adopted because that’s what they felt was right… they didn’t want her to feel any differently from the twins, or from Milo.

I think that Kat’s mother is a large part of the way Kat is, especially once I saw the way in which her parents interacted. I also think that never speaking of it has had severe repercussions.

A few questions:

Do you agree/disagree that Kat is severely in denial about many things? Do you think this contributes to the fanatical way in which she guards her privacy?

Did her mother do the right thing in arranging an adoption? Was it the right thing to never talk about it, ever?

Did Faith’s parents do the right thing in not telling her that she was adopted?

Who do you think Kat’s blackmailer is?

Thanks everyone and I’ll see you back here next week to wrap it all up!

 

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Lifesaving For Beginners – Ciara Geraghty Read-A-Long Discussion Pt 1

Lifesaving For BeginnersHello 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.

 

 

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Book-Blogger Read-A-Long Callout – Lifesaving For Beginners, by Ciara Geraghty

Lifesaving For BeginnersReaders of my blog might remember that last year, I hosted a couple of book-blogger read-a-longs where we read books to a schedule and discussed them as a group. Soon I’ll be hosting another one of the forthcoming Lifesaving For Beginners by Ciara Geraghty to be published in Australia by Hachette. The synopsis:

An accident on the motorway. One woman dies. One woman lives. Nothing will ever be the same again. Kat Kavanagh works in Dublin as a technical writer. She has no children and is fond of her man-friend, Thomas. She never thinks about what happened when she was fifteen. That’s Kat’s story. None of it is true. Milo is ten and lives in Brighton. He’s pretty busy trying to keep things together. Lots of stuff is still the same. Like school. Lifesaving class. Library duty with Carla. Cutting worms in two with his best friend Damo. But some things are different. Like his mother not being around anymore. And his sister Faith, looking after him. Then Faith finds some of her mother’s old papers and discovers a secret she was never meant to know. Suddenly everything changes. As Milo struggles to come to terms with what has happened to his family, Faith is determined to uncover the truth. Kat thinks the truth is overrated. But you can only run so far before your past catches up with you …

Some of you may have already received an email inviting you along to take part in this but if you haven’t (or if you didn’t take part in the others but would like to take part in this one) then please email me with: your name, your address where you’d like the book to be sent and a link to your blog to 1girl2manybooks {@} gmail {.} com and I will pass your information along to the contact at the publisher. As this is a publisher sponsored read-a-long, you must live in Australia.

If this is something you’d like to be a part of, please get in contact by next Thursday 10th January to allow plenty of time to receive your copy before the read-a-long starts. They’re lots of fun and always result in plenty of good discussion so don’t be shy!

 

 

 

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