Sunday, 22 November 2015

Review - A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray

I picked up A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray when browsing the shelves at my local library one day and, after reading the blurb, was instantly intrigued. I am so glad I borrowed this book as to put it simply it is an absolutely incredible novel that was completely unlike anything I had ever read before - extremely compelling, utterly beautiful and entirely unforgettable. 

A Song for Issy Bradley tells the story of a Mormon family who are all trying to come to terms with the grief that they are left with following the sudden death of their four year old daughter, Issy. We have the Dad, Ian, who is a bishop in the Mormon church and strongly believes in the power of his faith and doing everything he can to help others, even if it sometimes means not being around for his own family. Then we have the mum, Claire, who finds herself completely unable to cope with losing Issy and cuts herself off from the rest of the world, finding it impossible to accept the strong faith in Mormon beliefs that her husband has always done. Finally, we have Issy’s siblings - Zipporah, Alma and Jacob who, with all their doubts about the Mormon faith, are each devastated by Issy's death and are really desperate to be able to live the sort of lives that their friends at school do. 

This is a book that primarily deals with loss and grief, exploring the way in which different people come to terms and cope with it in very different ways. Having read the blurb of the book before I started reading it, I understood what A Song for Issy Bradley was going to be about and was, therefore, bracing myself for quite a dark and depressing novel but this wasn’t the case at all. There were actually many moments throughout the novel that were very humerous and had me smiling and laughing. 

Additionally the book is very much about family relationships and really quite accurately demonstrates, in my opinion, the way in which the views and beliefs of parents can greatly vary from those of their children and how this can sometimes leave children feeling quite frustrated and resentful. It also deals with the relationship that siblings have and highlights the fact that despite the fact they may argue and bicker, they will always care for and support eachother when they most need to. 

This book was exceptionally well written and really was a stunning creation. Reading the book it was evident that so much effort had gone into every single page and the level of detail was absolutely incredible. Before reading this novel I’m going to confess that I had little understanding of the Mormon culture but quite honestly this didn’t matter in the slightest as everything was perfectly described to the point where I could understand it with ease and I now feel like I’ve really learned something new. 

I really recommend A Song for Issy Bradley which was, unbelievably, Carys Bray’s first full-length novel and will not hesitate to pick up more written by her in the future. Carys Bray is definitely an author to look out for!