Thank you to the Head of Zeus team for the invitation to join the blog tour for this debut novel, and a proof copy to read and review.
If you were offered the chance to be ‘normal’ would you take it? Do we even know what ‘normal’ is?
The Willow family have been through a lot together. Louise has devoted her life to her family and raising her disabled daughter, Patience. Pete now works abroad, determined to provide more, even if it means seeing less of those he loves. And Eliza, in the shadow of her sister, has a ‘perfect’ life in London, striving to live up to her mother’s high standards.
Meanwhile, Patience lives her life quietly, watching and judging the world while she’s trapped in her own body. She laughs, she cries, she knows what she wants, but she can’t ever communicate this to those who make the decisions for her. Patience only wants a voice, but this is impossible.
When the opportunity to put Patience into a new gene therapy trial to cure her Rett syndrome becomes available, opinions are divided, and the family is torn.
The stakes are high, and they face tough decisions in the hunt for a normal life. But is normal worth it? What do we even consider normal? Is Patience about to find out…?
I read Patience two weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about the story ever since. This is a stunning debut novel, full of emotion, ethical questions and the Willow family. A five star read for me – I don’t usually mention a rating until the end, but I’m concerned that my review won’t be good enough to convey how impressive this book is.
This was a book that I didn’t want to put down, as I discovered more about Patience and her family. The story starts with Patience at a Take That concert (she has excellent taste) where sadly her planned meeting with the band doesn’t happen due to a medical emergency. We start to discover how much Patience can understand and how her medical condition has impacted her life and that of her immediate family.
The book explores how her family have coped (or not coped) with the challenges of how Rett Syndrome changed their lives, from Louise not being able to go out to work and Eliza feeling unable to talk to her parents about her own personal problems.
Patience’s chapters are written in the first person, and she tells us how she feels, what she enjoys and what she is frightened by. As her family start to discuss the possibility of using gene therapy to help her enjoy more movement and possibly speech, it was interesting to hear from all sides of the family, including Patience.
My sister-in-law has learning difficulties, which would probably be classified as global delay and autism now. This made me think about how her parents and siblings may have reacted if she had been offered gene therapy – would it be a wonder drug or would it make things worse, due to possible side effects.
This is an emotional rollercoaster of a book as Patience and her family discuss/argue about what they should do. Will the treatment give Patience the chance to share her thoughts and wishes with her loved ones or could it kill her? I can understand the wanting to try a new treatment but wouldn’t want to be one of the first to try it if this was my child.
There is so much more I would love to write about this story but instead I request that you buy or borrow a copy of this impressive debut novel and read it. You may have read about the author, Victoria Scott and her own sister, if you read the BBC news app or website – if not, check out the story at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/disability-58073175
Victoria Scott has been a journalist for more than two decades, working for a wide variety of outlets including the BBC, Al Jazeera, Time Out, Doha News and the Telegraph. Alongside her love of telling real-life stories, she has also always written fiction, penning plays, stories and poems ever since she first worked out how to use her parents’ electric typewriter.
When she’s not writing, Victoria enjoys running incredibly slowly, singing loudly, baking badly and travelling the world extensively.
Victoria is a Faber Academy graduate. She has a degree in English from King’s College, London and a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism from City University, London. She lives near London with her husband and two children, and works as a freelance journalist, media trainer and journalism tutor.
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2XTTCPc