review: ‘Whispers Through a Megaphone’ by Rachel Elliott

4 stars

I’ve only gone and done another review! “Where have you been?”, you may be wondering (although, you’re probably not.) “What happened to reviewing every book you read this year?”, you may be questioning (although, again, you’re probably not.) All I have to say for myself is that I clearly have commitment issues, apart from when it comes to procrastination. That’s all there is to be said on the matter.

I was lucky enough to be sent this novel as a proof copy by Foyles as part of a giveaway they hosted, but this had no bearing on my review or my thoughts on this novel.

This book made me realise that being 20 and not having anything figured out yet might not be so bad. These characters are in their 30’s and they’re in the same boat. In fact, many of them have made terrible choices and they’re only just realising it and suffering the consequences. But this all makes this book sound very downbeat and depressing. Which it’s not. It was actually very life affirming and uplifting to read.

Miriam Delaney is our first main character. She is quiet, both figuratively and literally, with a lot of thoughts, has suffered significant trauma throughout her life, and hasn’t actually left her house in the past 3 years. Ralph Swoon, the reluctant psychotherapist, has only just realised that he is rather miserable, may be in a loveless marriage and his wife is quite possibly a lesbian. Their chance meeting in the woods one afternoon when they are both at significant turning points in their lives sparks an unusual but healing, platonic relationship and this odd meeting turns out to be the catalyst for some big life changes for the both of them.

This novel goes back and forth between many characters and their view points, from Miriam to her frantic and rather awful mother Frances, to Miriam’s helpful neighbour and not so secret admirer Boo, from Ralph to his confused wife Sadie and their twin teenage sons, and a few others. Although this was a lot to keep track of at times, the novel never felt overcrowded. Every character felt like they had a very relevant, and very important part to play and I wanted to hear from everyone.

After finishing ‘Whispers Through a Megaphone’ I felt like every character’s story was nicely concluded, but in a way that let the reader know that they still had so much to experience, so much more life to live. This novel was very human, very heart-warming, quite humorous at times, yet quiet sad in others. As mentioned before, this is not the type of novel I would usually pick up, but I was pleasantly surprised and would definitely read more from Rachel Elliott off the back of this read.

The main feeling I took away from this novel is that as much as some try to make it so, life is not, and cannot, be perfect. Nothing is set in stone, we are all human who make mistakes, and not everything is quite what it seems initially. And there’s not a thing wrong with any of this. In fact, it can be quite beautiful.

Thanks for reading!

sign off heartJess

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