Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Life you Want by Emily Barr

‘The Life You Want,’ is Emily Barr's eighth novel and the sequel to her first novel Backpack. We pick up with Tansy a decade after Backpack and find out she's married to Max and has two children, Toby and Joe. In her opening sentence she tells us she thinks she's having a breakdown. Not only that but she drinks a lot, forgets to pick up her children and contemplates an affair with her son's teacher. But then out of the blue she has an email from a friend, Elly. who she met while backpacking. Elly asks her to go to India to help out in an orphanage. It seems, it’s the escape Tansy needs but Elly isn't all she seemed....

Even though I found Tansy an incredibly irritating character, I loved the book. It wasn't as good as The Sisterhood which was fabulous but it was a really enjoyable read. I loved the descriptions of Indian towns and what it's like to travel in India and, I admit, it sounded nothing like I expected it to sound. Like Tansy when I imagine India I think of poor people begging on the streets the whole time. Emily didn't describe it like that at all. Now I want to go to Pondicherry it sounded wonderful.

The book is written in first-person which was enjoyable because we got all of Tansy's thoughts. While I say I found her irritating, at least she admitted she was a rubbish mother and wasn't cut out to live in London forever with a steady job. It still didn't stop me thinking she was selfish though for leaving her husband and children to go off to India. She kept saying she wasn't like her alcoholic mother but she was. I alternated between liking Tansy and wanting to slap her. She was selfish to leave her kids but I liked her honesty. She's definitely an anti-heroine and is like Marmite - you'll either love her or hate her.

As well as Tansy's point-of-view we regularly read blog posts from a woman in the US called Alexia who is adopting a child from India named Sasika. We follow her on her journey, through her blog posts, all the way - even when everything goes topsy-turvy. I would have liked a few more blog posts from Alexia because it was a great part of the story and helped,also, with the main plot of the story. The ending seemed slightly rushed. Apart from that, I really enjoyed the book. I didn't find it as much of a page-turner as The Sisterhood but it was another great read from Emily and I look forward to her next. She is one of my favourite authors.