Hey all! Second book review of the day!!!! I just finished reading The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan and so I am going to share with you all what I really think about the book.
Masha is drowning. Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, her life has been forever changed by a tragic event twelve years ago. Unable to let go of her grief, she finds solace in the silent company of the souls of her local Victorian cemetery and at the town’s lido, where she seeks refuge underwater – safe from the noise and the pain.
But a chance encounter with two extraordinary women – the fabulous and wise Kitty Muriel, a convent girl-turned-magician’s wife-turned-seventy-something-roller-disco-fanatic, and the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice – opens up a new world of possibilities, and the chance to start living again.
Until the fateful day when the past comes roaring back…
- Print Length: 352 pages
- Publisher: Two Roads (May 3, 2018)
- Publication Date: May 3, 2018
I was born in the house where my parents still live in Bedford: my sister was so pleased to have a sibling that she threw a thrupenny bit at me. As a child I read everything I could lay my hands on: The Moomintrolls, A Hundred Million Francs, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the back of cereal packets and gravestones. I was mad about dogs and horses, but didn’t like daddy-long-legs or sugar in my tea.
I studied English and Drama at Goldsmiths College which was brilliant, but then I came home and got a ‘proper’ job. I worked for ten years in a senior local government position (I was definitely a square peg in a round hole, but it paid the bills and mortgage) before a car accident left me unable to work full-time and convinced me to start writing seriously. It was going well, but then in 2012 I got cancer, which was bloody inconvenient but precipitated an exciting hair journey from bald to a peroxide blonde Annie Lennox crop. When chemo kept me up all night I passed the time writing and the eventual result was The Keeper of Lost Things.
I live in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and my long-suffering partner (who has very recently become my husband – so I can’t be that bad!) I am a magpie, always collecting treasures, and a huge John Betjeman fan. My favourite word is ‘antimacassar’ and I still like reading gravestones (courtesy of Goodreads)
So I have wanted to read this book and had been in the want to read list of books. Last year, I got this book from the Big Bad Wolf book fair and so I was excited to read it!
So basically, the story is told from the main protagonist point of view, Masha who goes to lido every day and practice “self drowning” beginning with the temperature of the pool. She is grieving at the death of her toddler son, Gabriel, who was drowned in a pond some twelve years ago, though the body was never found. She has a wolfhound dog named Haizum and she makes trips to the cemetery almost every day, looking at the “angels” and the gravestones of people who had died. Then she meets an eccentric woman who wore red shoes and who feeds the crows in the cemetery. Masha names her as “Sally” though she never knows the woman’s actual name (until the end of the story) and befriends her. The story is told how this Sally changed Masha’s life.
So as usual, let’s begin with the ones I liked about the book.
- The book was actually interesting to read and so did not make the reader (that’s me) feel bored.
- The author used vivid adjectives on descriptions of a place or things so the reader can visualize these things in the head and imagine the scene.
- Many of the characters in this book were likable. For example, I like the main character Masha. Though you feel her grief at the loss of her son, at times, she was funny and witty as well. She is also quiet loyal to her friends, particularly her gay friend, Edward. And she likes dogs!!!
- Author has used another character Alice as a chapter, describing her life with her son Mattie as a single mother. Though the reader is confused at first about the connection with Alice and Masha, towards the end only we find the connection (I am not going to dwell too much on that)
- I like how the author has used her real life experience as a cancer patient to write this book. As a result, it was kind of emotional to read.
- I like all the bonds of friendships and relationships described in this book.
Now let’s start with the ones I didn’t like in the book.
- I am not sure if it was intentional, but there were some unnecessary plot lines in the story that deviated from the story a little and was a bit boring sometimes.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the book and for those who haven’t read the Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, I recommend this book to you!!! Give it a five star rating!