Everyone Is Still Alive
By Cathy Rentzenbrink
Everyone is Still Alive is a moving, well-observed story about parenthood and more… It has wit and challenges and certain aspects made me think of hit tv show Motherland in someways.
Thanks to Phoenix Books for gifting me with the book and to Random T Tours for organising this and inviting me to review
Find out more in the blurb and my review below.
About the Author
Cathy Rentzenbrink grew up in Yorkshire, spent many years in London, and now lives in Cornwall.
She is the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author of THE LAST ACT OF LOVE, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize, and the acclaimed memoirs A MANUAL FOR HEARTACHE and DEAR READER. EVERYONE IS STILL ALIVE is her first novel.
The wise, witty and moving debut novel from SUNDAY TIMES bestselling author Cathy Rentzenbrink
– exploring the deeper reality of marriage, parenthood and the way life thwarts our expectations.
It is summer on Magnolia Road when Juliet moves into her late mother’s house with her husband Liam and their young son, Charlie. Preoccupied by guilt, grief and the juggle of working motherhood, she
can’t imagine finding time to get to know the neighbouring families, let alone fitting in with them.
But for Liam, a writer, the morning coffees and after-school gatherings soon reveal the secret struggles, fears and rivalries playing out behind closed doors – all of which are going straight into his new novel . . .
Juliet tries to bury her unease and leave Liam to forge these new friendships. But when the rupture of a marriage sends ripples through the group, painful home truths are brought to light. And then, one sundrenched afternoon at a party, a single moment changes everything.
EVERYONE IS STILL ALIVE is the story of several families who live on the same suburban street, all
secretly struggling with the anxieties of the modern world whilst trying to maintain the illusion that
everything is fine. This is a novel about guilt, grief, working motherhood, the mental load, envy, fear and
status, but it’s also about love, friendship, community and how we figure out what really matters.
It has a striking beginning in the prologue, with what people worry about. Juliet and Liam are parents to Charlie and have just moved house and discover they live across from Brian and Jim, who kindly introduce themselves.
The book deals with death and grief in the family as Charlie’s gran’s died. It leads readers into very moving depicitions of a family trying to be okay and deal with it all, especially with a child and Charlie has his own concerns and how he views granny as having being more fun than mummy. It then shows Juliet making an effort as Charlie goes to his new school and existing parents making an effort and Juliet integrating into her new life on Magnolia Road. Readers then get to know a bit more about Helen and Dan and their children, Daisy and Freddie and how Freddie needs his fidget spinner and how his parents are wondering what’s going on with his behaviour and tantrums.
Everyone Is Still Alive shows a little about some of the difficulties with bonding at times, as well as the joy and the social occassions, work getting in the way, the compromises, the stuff that some parents feel obliged to be in, such as PTA meeting. It shows the whirlwind of parenting, whether still together or co-parenting, as Lucy and Bas are and the issues and feelings and questions that throws up about what they really want.
There’s also a sudden incident that occurs in Juliet’s family that is sure to also keep readers gripped as it’s a matter of life or death.
It’s an insightful book into different people’s lives, emotions, kindness, relationships. It may even have people looking at their own lives.
There’s humour, honesty and emotion and many situations that families get themselves into, which are well-observed. It also shows a resilience, which I think may interest many readers. I also think if you like Motherland on TV, you may like this book.
Readers will find “The Credits” at the back have a fascinating insight into just how many people work on a book to get it out there into the public sphere so people can read it.