Monday, 18 February 2013

The Whipping Club , by Deborah Henry

The Whipping Club
345 pages
Published February 15th 2012 by T.S. Poetry Press (first published February 2nd 2012)
0984553177 (ISBN13: 9780984553174)
"The Whipping Club explores the sacrificial secrets we keep to protect our loved ones and the impact that uncovered secrets have on marriage, family and society. Both a wrenching family drama and a harrowing suspense story, it chronicles an interfaith couple's attempt in 1960s Ireland to save their son from corrupt institutions. A powerful saga of love and survival."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
My Review
The book suggests that life is all about the little secrets that we are too ashamed to share with others, with how they sneak back up on us to try and take that ounce and shred of control that we have gained in our life. It is clear that the book is set back in a time that I myself am not familiar too. A time where it was not a good thing to have a baby outside of wedlock and marrying outside of your conformed religion was also a big no no in all manners. However, in this book we see two people from different backgrounds come together with a secret that ultimately is going to do its damn well best to tear them apart as well. I think that the book touches on a topic that could be catergorzied as taboo, for its the sort of, well what would you do given the circumstances, topic. It is well written though and you do begin to see the point of story from all characters perspectives, but at the same time it was lacking that little something, something which I can not put my finger on just as off yet.
I think that the story really plays out how having a secret child, and bringing them into the family is a big challenge. But for me it just represented the difference in the ways in which families conform. Now a days, although having a new child introduced at such a late stage would still be a challenge, it is much more acceptable and everyone tends to settle in easier on the topic. However in this novel, no one seems to be really up to it, and everytime the child does something that is not considered the correct standard or manner, it brings the situation even further into a black hole. To me it represented the need to work with the people that you have around you and it made me also appreciate the kind of lifestyle that I have now, where I have been granted the chance to experience what a real father should have been like to me.
The book was well written and I think that the author had some wonderful ideas when constructing the book. I don't think that it particularly flows fluidly throughout the whole novel and there are some bits that didn't quite sum up. Perhaps it was just the chaotic feeling within the pages, where there always seemed to be something going on. However one thing that the author did do, was capture my heart and tug at its strings. I found myself falling for the boy and wanting to protect him, especially towards the end. It made me realize that even when we think we have put someone within the best care that we can find, they may not be safe, and they could very well be in the worst sort of danger we could think up for them. I felt that she really displayed the character of the bastard child well, but also how the parents were being ripped apart with his attitude and behaviour. it really displayed the family diversity through different stages and that in many ways made it more belieavble and realistic.
Although this is not the sort of book I would perhaps read again, I would be interested to see some sort of sequel produced where we find out what happened to the boy as he grew up. Did he get the life that he wanted and dreamed for and were the family united as a whole at any point. I do feel that there are many open ended questions throughout it but you can also see the depth, which gave it a thought provoking elegance. if you get a chance, then give this book a chance.  
  3 of 5 stars false  

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