Sunday, 15 October 2017

BOOK REVIEW: All That She Can See - Carrie Hope Fletcher

Book: All That She Can See
Author: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Genre: Contemporary, Magical-Realism
Synopsis: A story of love, food and a little bit of magic, All That She Can See is an enchanting and beautiful novel that's guaranteed to be the most magical story you'll read all year.

A story of loss, love, feelings and baking, All That She Can See is a book that will make you think about the way you see the world, and make you realise that you are not alone, no matter how lonely you may feel.

Just from reading the prologue I knew this book was going to be special. It’s not just your typical chick-lit love story, it goes so much deeper than that. I knew it was going to make me think about the way I view myself and how I view others just from reading the first 10 pages. It’s such a refreshing read as it’s a concept I’ve never seen done this way before which makes for an interesting plot.

The reader is introduced to Cherry and the world of Meddlums, monster like creatures who embody what a person is feeling and become the little voices in our heads, making us doubt ourselves and our abilities, making us feel lonely, scared, angry, hatred and any other feeling you have ever felt.

Cherry is a very relatable and diverse character. Throughout the book she deals with the loss of her fathers, and the anxiety and loneliness that comes with that traumatic experience. At the beginning of the book she doesn’t feel as though she is in control of her own life, Meddlums have taken the reigns and steer her down a potentially dark and dangerous path, but with the help of some friends she manages to find her feet and sets about to change the way she sees the world.

Chase is another very relatable character. Like Cherry he can see Meddlums, except he sees all the good feelings people carry around, like hope, love, happiness and compassion. Unlike Cherry, he isn’t happy with his gift and it does lead him down a dark path in life, leaving him feeling bitter and angry with himself for his life not turning out the way he wanted it to.

There is a section of the book where Chase and Cherry are having a heart to heart about their special gift and Chase opens up about the way he feels and why he acts so bitter to everyone. He tells Cherry;

‘Yeah, it’s wonderful seeing all that, making you wonder why your life isn’t the same. It’s so good to feel worse about all the things you don’t have and haven’t done.’

Reading those lines, I knew that I related to Chase slightly more than I related to Cherry. Of course, I know that if you want something you have to go out and work for it, nothing is free in this world, but there have been times when I see my friends getting these amazing jobs and moving forward with their lives and I just feel a little bit stuck. I totally understand where Chase is coming from, but, as Chase learns throughout the novel, I just have to embrace the good and work on myself in order to get to where I want to be in life. It won’t happen right away and that’s okay! Life is difficult, but as both Chase and Cherry learn, it does get better, you just have to take the good with the bad.
‘The bad make you grateful for the good you have in your life.’

What I really liked about this book is that it wasn’t heavily focused on romance, more about learning to love yourself and all your flaws because everyone has them, no matter what front they put on for society, everyone has felt low and bad about themselves at some point in their lives.

Being a magical realism novel, the writing was very whimsical, which suited Cherry’s personality perfectly. She always tries to see the best in people and tries to help everyone she meets by baking sweet treats and infusing them with good feelings. The key to a good magical realism story is to make the reader forget they are reading a magical realism and make it seem as though it is just a contemporary novel. Carrie managed to execute this perfectly. Having read her other book, On The Other Side, I didn’t manage to completely suspend my belief, but with All The She Can See there was no question, I just absorbed the words as though they were telling a real story and that these Meddlum creatures were in fact real.

The Epigraph sums up the whole book;

“To the voices in our heads that tell us we aren’t good enough: do be quiet”

Rating: 4 out of 5

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