Bold statement I know, but The Carer is one of the best books I have ever read. Believe me, this book is truly brilliant – it is charming, quirky and made me laugh so much with its dry punchy humour. Then completely out of nowhere, pulled at my heartstrings and left me crying buckets.
In an authentic, wry and witty manner, it explores the societal issue of ageing linked with family responsibility. This is all set against the backdrop of sibling rivalry and snobbery which brilliantly enhances the comedy.
Written by Deborah Moggach, bestselling author of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Carer was published this week (9th July 2019). It is the story of two middle aged, middle class siblings Robert and Phoebe who love their elderly father James but don’t really want to care for him as he gets aged and frail.
Robert lives in London, Phoebe in Wales and their father in the Cotswolds. The siblings often argued as to who should make the journey when a crisis arose. Robert “subtly reminded Phoebe that he was a family man, with commitments. In fact, his children had long since left home and all he did was sit in his garden shed trying to write but she didn’t like to point this out, because mentioning his novel wasn’t advisable, dear me no.” Whereas Phoebe is “a single woman, of a certain age, and childless. This suggested an Austen-like obligation to others, but she was buggered if she’d let Robert off the hook.”
Hence Phoebe and Robert employ Mandy to be James’s full time carer; “an overweight woman with Rosemary West specs, wearing a bobble hat and stripy tights, something very blokey about her.”
Mandy refers to their highly intelligent, academic father as ‘Pops‘ “for God’s sake, the man had an OBE” and bonds with him over soap operas and Pointless. Although the siblings clearly view Mandy as socially inferior, they think of her as “their saviour” releasing them from their family obligations.
However when Mandy starts to show an unhealthy interest in James, including his finances, the siblings suspicions grow. Hence both Phoebe and Robert find themselves in a moral fix.
However I was not prepared for the almighty twist that Deborah Moggach delivered out of nowhere. It blew me away.
This is a truly stunning novel made up of short, snappy chapters. The narrative is fast paced, quirky and compelling. I read it quickly, which in once sense I loved. However I was brokenhearted when I reached the end as I loved the characters, the dry humour and pathos this novel portrayed. I loved it so much because it is so funny, yet so human and relatable.
For those of you that are regular followers of my blog, you’ll know that I also included The Carer in my recent Top Summer Reads You Shouldn’t Miss post. There’s no doubt about it, in my view The Carer is sheer brilliance.
A massive thank you to Georgina Moore for my advance copy of The Carer – I have been telling everyone to read this book and will continue to do so! 🙂 This is the first Deborah Moggach book I’ve ever read – but believe me, I’ll definitely be reading more!
Happy reading everyone! 🙂