Lacey’s House by Joanne Graham

Fourteen members were able to attend April’s meeting held at The Cloisters on Thursday 20th April with apologies received from members who were unable to be present.

Pam opened the discussion by asking members their views on this book.  Several members admitted that due to various reasons they had been unable to read this book.  A few members saying that they felt the content and style of writing did not encourage them to do so in this instance. On the other hand, the majority of members who had been able to read this book, although difficult to “get into” at the beginning, had found they got used to the actual text and style of writing, using very short chapters and swinging between the two main characters – Lacey and Rachel, fairly easy to follow flowing easily from one to another on the whole.

It was also said by some members that they thought that the relationship between the two women was well-described and detailed generally with it growing in confidence as the book went on – a love story of sorts (not romantic !!).  Several members felt it was a sad, deep and quite “dark” book with several questions unanswered that they felt they needed to know about and there was a feeling from nearly everyone of shock with the twist at the end, that there had been no baby for Lacey  which definitely took most by surprise.

One or two members thought although the subject matter was worthy, giving the book great possibilities to be incredibly powerful, it sadly disappointed, feeling it lacked atmosphere with its descriptive, cliché language not getting a connection emerging and would possibly have fared better in a more experienced writer’s hands perhaps.  Others argued that they did feel it had a sense of relationship building with a feeling that the two women through helping and learning about each other became each other’s “missing link” (daughter/mother : mother/daughter ?).  Several felt as they read on through the chapters that they were waiting for the relationship to get better and it just did not, whilst others said they thought it had achieved this!!  It was also generally thought it had to a certain extent been quite difficult to pick through the truth and lies laid out for Lacey’s character in the storytelling.

Thoughts and discussion were then given on the author’s coverage of the “harshness and cruelty” aspect of this story mainly with regards to the character of Lacey’s doctor father, including the electric shock and lobotomy treatments endured by her, leading on to a few members admitting they had felt personally affected by them, leaving them with emotions of unhappy despair in humanity, a sadness,  finding it quite hard for them to read the book to its end. Others said that they felt it was the human spirit surviving through a very hard life, much similar to the world we live in today.  Most agreed that Lacey had to die to give the book its “happy” ending allowing Rachel to achieve her dreams.

To conclude …….  A book which evoked all sorts of emotions and split opinions and views and was felt generally one which allowed “damaged souls to move along at their own pace” (Thank you Joy) a simplistic but complicated deep and dark novel, one full of unhappiness and sadness. Some thought it was one with worthy subject matter that had hopes and the possibilities to be powerful. Half of those members present enjoyed the book to a certain extent, but no-one wanted to or had the desire to read it again or recommend it.