Review: Signs of Life
What can I say about Rachel? Well, I don’t understand her, that’s for damn sure but that’s no surprise because you pretty quickly gather from the book that she doesn’t seem to even ‘get’ herself. Despite a comfortable life with a solid relationship, she’s unsettled and that leads to an affair with Carl, a workmate. Unfortunately, this leads to the unravelling of life around her as a bit of fun turns into passion, turns into drama, turns into disaster.
I’ve heard people say that you need to have a likeable character for a book to work. I guess it’s true that it’s easier to become immersed in a story if you like the character – or at least have empathy for them – but to me this book is a prime example that you can find a character thoroughly distasteful and still appreciate the book.
So why do I dislike Rachel so much? Her affair? Her lack of responsible thinking about work or her colleagues or her life in general? Not so much any of that really. We all make mistakes in life. I think it’s her apathy about life and, in particular, her apathy about the feelings of others. She just seems to drift , a stream of catastrophe and hurt in her wake, and not really understand the devastation around her. However, there is character development within the novel and the hope that she will perhaps begin to understand the importance of others’ feelings and reining in one’s own actions. But at what price has it come?
Signs of Life is a really good read. You know there are bad things coming and continually want to shake Rachel out of her stupor and get her to address her life. Instead, you follow along for the ride with an increasingly sinking feeling. It’s very well told at a steady pace and certainly a solid four star read.
(Book source: reviewer received a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review)