“The Facts of Life” by Patrick Gale

I received a copy of THE FACTS OF LIFE through NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest and original review.

I did not, however, manage to finish this book. I have a general rule of getting to at least 20% of the book read, especially in the cases of books acquired in exchange for reviews, and I reached that and stopped. There was no connection between me and the main characters at that point, Sally and Edward. In fact, I felt more connected to Sally and Edward’s mentors than I did to them.

The story seemed to reach too far, trying to hard to encompass every event and mood of the post-World War II years.

But the final straws for me were when Edward found his sister in a psychiatric hospital in Paris, having survived medical torture in the Nazi death camps, and without much thought at all… smothered her with a pillow. Apparently because she’d be too much of a burden? It was hard to understand, knowing what I knew of Edward, why the author thought this was necessary.

The other final straw was during the birth of Sally and Edward’s child. Sally and Edward hardly tolerated each other by this time, suffocating one’s sister and not telling one’s wife could probably lead to that, but a storm prevented them from going to a hospital and the midwife was away. Which is all fine. But then, for reasons no one will ever explain to me with an satisfaction, the author described the bowel movement that Sally had as she pushed her daughter out. And…

…some details are just best left unsaid.

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