Jessica Morley is on her way to meet with a man she hasn’t seen for fifteen years. In her bag there is a package she must deliver. As she travels south, she remembers Jack Banford, a boy who captured her imagination as a child and made her believe in a future that could never happen. Now it is time for her to set the record straight and finally put the past behind her. ‘What I Did Not Say’ is a story of loyalty, cruelty and love at all costs.
I finished this book over a week ago but have been deliberating about what to say in my review, and I hasten to add that does not reflect a negative response. My problem has been in knowing what to say, without detracting from the experience for anyone else coming to this book. When I chose to read it, I knew very little other than it had been well received by other bloggers. As I won’t read reviews before I read a book I’m reviewing I had no clues other than the blurb which really gives nothing away. Even the cover was non committal. I’m assuming this was the intention of the author, and it was certainly effective and for me it was a pleasant change to pick up a book without any preconceptions about the content. Given the subject of the book, that was also a clever move as it deals to a large extent with how we perceive others and the judgement’s we make.
So what to say? Well it’s split into three parts. The first part sets the background and details the relationships between Jack and Jess, Vera and Terry. This was very well done and the childhood friendship between Jack and Jess was very well expressed. Vera is Jack’s mum and Terry is her old friend. How they all relate to each other is for you to discover. What was clever was the way ambiguous comments or phrases were dropped into the narrative which led to assumptions (false or otherwise) being made about the characters. This very much led to what happened in Part Two, an event which was completely unexpected. Part Three is essentially the present day and is described in the blurb. I’m not comfortable saying anymore without divulging anything about the plot.
I enjoyed this book. I thought the characters (though perhaps at times unreliable) were very well portrayed and believable. The story itself was also very plausible though perhaps a bit unbalanced in that for me Part Three was quite short and still left some doubts in my mind as to the truth of what had happened. That said, that ambiguity was in keeping with the overall undercurrent flowing through the book. Essentially though this is a story about friendship, love, acceptance and the suffering of those who don’t conform. It’s a fairly short read, but none the less powerful for that and I’m happy to recommend it.
I received an ecopy from the author for the purposes of this review