Book review: Grandmothers by Salley Vickers

Book cover: Grandmothers with endorsements from Sunday Times and Philip Pullman

I borrowed Grandmothers from the library. At the beginning I found it rather slow as the scene was being set for three different families. I enjoy Salley Vickers’ writing and as I continued to read I found much to think about. A passage in which a child is asked to tell a grandmother about a book she has read, but is reluctant to do so as it would be a spoiler, was followed by a reply that the adult enjoyed reading stories when she knew what was going to happen. This prompted me to read to the end of the book, take a break and then reread it. I was glad that I did as I picked up details I had missed on my first impatient reading of it.

The views of the adults and the difficulties in their various families are interesting. An incident in Kew Gardens reminded me of a book I had read on BorrowBox, A Thousand Paper Birds by Tor Udall. I didn’t review that book because some of the content was unsuitable for a blog intended for all ages.

The views expressed in Grandmothers about Jesus Christ’s death do not reflect Christian beliefs. I wonder how many people among the general public agree with the suggestion that it was Jesus’ fault that he died unnecessarily.

The Bible and the Christian creeds (statements of belief) teach that Jesus died to redeem humans, who were separated from God by their sinful nature. By his death, resurrection (rising from the dead) and ascension into heaven he provided the means of salvation so that people can live in relationship with God through the Holy Spirit (spirit of Christ).

Grandmothers is a gentle read. There are references to poetry and works of art. The characters are interesting and Salley Vickers obviously observes people’s characters and behaviour closely, giving her characters some of her insights.