Review: You Never Told Me by Sarah Jasmon

You Never Told Me is the latest novel by Sarah Jasmon. Read the full review via @tbookjunkie

Charlie doesn’t seem to like backpackers or the fact that they represent privilege, freedom and even perhaps naivety. All she sees is the way these individuals take over cities and countries, not necessarily thinking about the impact they have on the local communities.

But then she is in Thailand herself, is she one of these privileged people that just so happened to remain long after her trip was meant to finish?

It would seem that Charlie is one of several who decided to stay on and work for an international language school. They pay a pittance but knowing that they can easily be replaced, people know the best thing to do about it is absolutely nothing.

Instead, to lighten the mood, a team-building weekend away has been suggested.

Charlie didn’t hesitate. She may be a decade older than the rest, having missed out on this experience when she was the supposed ‘right age,’ but she is opting to live life now and at any mention of a social gathering, she appears.

Looking back, Charlie knows she was running away from the grown-up world. Back home she had everything she could wish for. A house, a dog, a long-term boyfriend wanting to marry her, but for some reason, none of that was enough. She felt trapped. Felt a need to get away from it all, much to the disgust of her family.

But then she receives an email from her sister, urging her to fly home. Her mum is sick and it doesn’t look good.

Unfortunately, Charlie struggles to get her act together in time and as she rushes into the hospital she is greeted with a sight she never truly expected.  She was too late and never got to say goodbye to her mum. In fact, she can’t even remember the last time she spoke to her. Overwhelmed and unsure what to do with herself she opts to stay at home with her retired, aloof father until the house is sold and he moves in with her sister, Eleanor.

Eleanor has always been the sensible, older sister; the one that settled down early and had two wonderful children. Surely, she is the picture of the perfect family?

As the house is sold, the strain of their mother’s death begins to show.  With her father moving in with Eleanor there is no room for Charlie, and with no clue what to do, it seems even now her mother is her saviour.

Unbeknown to the family, her mother Britta, seems to have developed a second life; a life that involves bequeathing a rather large sum of money and a houseboat to her daughters. At least that solves one problem – Charlie now has somewhere to live while she figures out what exactly she is going to do with her life.

With the confusing news that her mother may have had a secret life, Charlie decides that rather than sorting her own life out, she needs to further understand whom Britta really was. Will Charlie be able to get to the bottom of this mystery? Will it help her to figure out exactly who she is and what she wants to do?

Will looking into the past bring the family closer together or will it put an even bigger wedge between them all?

You Never Told Me by Sarah Jasmon

My Thoughts on You Never Told Me

What starts out as a novel about travelling to Thailand quickly turns into a heart-wrenching story of loss and reinvention. For anyone that has lost someone really important to them, keeping hold of the memories becomes the most valuable thing in the world. Unfortunately in this instance, it seems the recollections that this family holds dear may not honestly represent the person they thought they knew.

This is a novel about seeking the truth. It is a story that explores delving into the past in order to understand one’s true identity after a tragedy. At times, You Never Told Me is emotionally soul-stirring and does make you think about how much you really know about your own history.

At the same time, it is not a novel that evokes tears. It is one that culminates in a sense of wanting to belong somewhere and have a sense of self-satisfaction with the life you are living.

Have you read any of Sarah Jasmon’s novels?

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Full review of Sarah Jasmon's latest novel, You Never Told Me via @tbookjunkie

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