I chose this book after reading about the author’s decision to relaunch her books under her new Buddhist name and was intrigued to see what her books were like, as I’d never knowingly read anything by a Buddhist writer before.
I read it over a couple of days, grabbing every minute I could with my Kindle, as I was immersed in the heroine’s dilemma from the first page.
Without spoiling the plot for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, in the hands of a lesser writer, this would have been a less gritty, more sentimental story. The honesty and realism with which Satya Robyn writes make it far more rewarding.
The structure is a blend of diary and, in a way, detective story. The narrator divulges key facts about her past along the way as her diary expands, until a last reveal on the final page, which will flood you with warmth.
A rites-of-passage tale for the modern age, where even the ever-presence of answerphones and mobiles doesn’t banish loneliness, this book reminded me of that heart-wrenching classic, I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith, where you alternate between rooting for the heroine and clutching your hair crying “Nooooo!”
It’s also a persuasive argument for looking out for the underdog, for the shy person who keeps herself to herself, who finds it less painful to be a wallflower than to deal with attention. It’s good to know that the author is a qualified psychotherapist, so that you know that she’s writing accurately about the issues at the heart of the tale – again, no plot spoilers here, but once you’ve read it, you’ll know what I mean.
Incidentally, I love the simple, elegant cover, the single-word title (is that a touch of Buddhist minimalism, I wonder?) that made me think of Henry Green’s “Nothing”, “Blindness”, etc which I adore. Highly recommended, but, like Thomas Hardy, another favourite of mine, best read when you’re feeling cheerful and contented. I will definitely be reading more by this writer.