4 October 2010

Book Review: Famous Last Words by Annie Sanders

Lucy Streeter thought she had her life pretty sussed out. She runs a clothes shop, where she also gets to show off her own designs that she does in her own spare time, she's mum to her grown up son Nat who is at University, and she gets on really well with the other occupants of Paradise Street, where their shops are based. However, Lucy decides to pay a visit to a fortune teller one day, and finds out a bit of shocking news... she has just days to live. Lucy is horrified that her time on Earth is nearly up, and makes some radical decision and changes that the old Lucy never would have done. Is Lucy going to be able to make the most of her last few days with her family and friends, or is it just too little, too late?

I have read quite a few of Annie Sanders' novels in the past and really enjoyed them, so I was really looking forward to getting around to this one. I have to admit I wasn't too keen on the cover when it was released but in real life, it doesn't look quite as dull as the pictures online make it look. What I love about Annie Sanders' novels are the realism - you can always count on characters that you recognise or can imagine being friends with, and that is exactly what I hoped I would get from this novel once more. So here's my review!

The leading lady Lucy is a great character, and I liked her straight away. She's a single mum to a grown up son who is at University, and seems at a bit of a loss as to what to do with herself now he's grown up and flown the nest. Lucy is a talented designer but prefers to sell other people's wares in her clothes shop, a point that did make me think "why would you not try and push your own designs?"  but as the story progresses, we do see why. Lucy is a really normal woman, she's certainly someone I can imagine liking and she seems like your average housewife which is nice. However, we soon see a new side to Lucy once she learns of her impending demise, and this is where the main bulk of the story comes in.

The character of Micah wasn't one that I liked enormously if I am honest. I especially disliked him at the end when it all becomes clear about him and his predictions because I really don't like that sort of things within books, and it seemed like Sanders was plugging into the magical element of books that has done well for authors such as Cecelia Ahern, but it seemed totally out of place in this book. It was a real shame because I had loved the book up until now, and thought it was a great story about someone reinventing themselves but the magical part really let it down for me and turned from a great book into something a bit silly and unbelievable which was a real pity.

The story of people reinventing themselves has been done before, but I really enjoyed the twist Sanders put on it that Lucy knew she was going to die, and therefore wanted to do everything she normally wouldn't have the guts to do. It certainly makes you begin to think what would you get up to if you knew you only had a few days left on Earth, and you can sympathise with Lucy along the way too because you can see how much it is hurting her at the thought of leaving her son behind, but the things that come out of it are well worth reading about. What I really love was how it wasn't just the physical things Lucy had to change, and it's enjoyable to see this character come out of her shell.

Overall, this is a really enjoyable book and would definitely have been a superb one had they not brought in the silly ending that they did, which for me spoilt the rest of the tone of the book for me. I was actually guessing that Micah's character was going to force the book to go one way, and it seemed so out of place in an otherwise brilliantly grounded read that it really spoilt the ending for me, and I was left quite disappointed. I don't know why authors think that everyone wants something "magical" and "fantastical" in their books, because we don't! We know which authors to go to when we want that and I just felt it out of place in an otherwise fantastic read.

Rating: 4/5

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