The Things I Want To Say But Can’t
By Carla Christian
Rated: 5 Stars *****
Not so long ago I revealed the cover for The Things I Want To Say But Can’t. Now I have the priviledge of sharing my review of its contents. Readers are in for a treat! This is a debut novel, but it feels like this author has been writing for years. This book seriously reads like there have been many books under her belt, even though there is not. It’s seriously impressive and hard to put down.
One emotional journey of life! That’s what this story is. It’ll grab you and hold you so you can’t let it go and will stay with you for a bit longer as you come to terms with what just happened. I don’t think readers will be disappointed. I certainly was not.
In the acknowledgements, Carla Christian credits being inspired by One Day by David Nicholls. It’s certainly almost as good as that, but with a bigger intensity. Both One Day and The Things I Want To Say But Can’t, hook you into characters lives, but different genres. Then there is “You” in the story…
I thank Love Books Tours for inviting me on the blogtour to review. I thank Carla Christian for signing the book and for Lets Get Booked for sending it. Please note this has no bearing on what I have rated or written in the review. I have based it on its own merits.
Find out more below in the blurb and my review.
About The Author
Carla Christian lives in the Lake District in the North of England. A busy working mum of two teenagers, she has a passion for writing, art and travel, and these interests have been a part of her for as long as she can remember.
Constantly inspired by both the good and the bad in the world around her, she spends much of her time creating in one way or another; be it painting canvases for the blank walls of her new home, sketching pictures to capture memories of the many travel adventures she’s been lucky enough to go on, baking fantastical cakes with her daughter, or writing endless beginnings to a million unfinished stories.
The Things I Want To Say But Can’t is her first novel.
‘A lifetime of endings, a million goodbyes. None of them right. It’s funny what you remember when you’ve got nothing else to think about. All those things you should’ve said while you had the chance. You never learned, did you? You never, ever learned.’
Belle has a habit of losing things. Her friends. Her lovers. Her mind.
Everything ends eventually, or at least that’s what life has taught her. But what if everything she lost came back again? What if she got a chance to finally have her say? To face her past. To put things right.
Second chances aren’t easy when memories are all you have. So, when Belle invites the nightmares of her past back in, is she willing to deal with the consequences? Because maybe, just maybe, this time she’s getting what she deserves.
Sharp, cutting and moving from the start, this tells the story of Isobel’s life. It’s definitely one powerful story that Carla Christian has written. The pain is striking! The sense of real emotion is written with a light touch and yet so excellently observed. It starts at a funeral to a new love and beyond. The pain is physical, psychological, emotional. It’s uncanny how recognisable it is, right to every nuance. I, who rarely cries, wants to, but doesn’t, and instead, I carry on in amazement at the writing, wanting to know more as it’s off-set with some joyous moments before turning a deep, dark corner. It’s quite extraordinary and incredibly enthralling and good!
There’s a new potential lover who comes onto the scene in a bar. She can’t take her eyes off this person. I can’t take my eyes off the words leaping off the page as the intensity increases. This is clever. The writing remains taught, even when Isobel is recalling compliments. Everything becomes heightened. What if her lover – referred to as You, discovers too much about her?
Butterflies do come into it when Isobel comes across Amy. She has a jar full of caterpillars because she wants to see them turn into butterflies. It’s sweet and innocent, mostly. Do take note of the dates as there are some that go back to the time of childhood. It works incredibly well in telling a bit of back story, which eases off the tension a little, before ramping it up again in Isobel’s adult life, especially with “You”.
The contrast between the beauty and vividness of butterflies and the darker edges of human life is stark and paints a picture itself. One that twists to some dark places of human behaviour and the cruelty that can occur in life that can creep up and subtly build and build, before you know what’s going on. It makes for a fascinating read of cause and effect and how the past is often still there and how it can mould, shape and transform life.
Interestingly, readers can, in part 2 of the book, see what happened before “You”, when there was the relationship with Matthew, which is when life begins to slide. Then there is the third and part of what happens after “You” and things change again, with so much to face and overcome. The fourth part is The End that is shocking! Brilliantly written, but shocking, not for art’s sake of creating a crescendo, but because it is fitting with the story.
Those caterpillars, earlier, in the jar, waiting to be beautiful, elegant butterflies becomes more and more nuanced in adult life. What seemed innocent in childhood, becomes less so later on, I realise as my mind casts back and then to the current pages, as it becomes more apparent that there’s a lot more than the lust of earlier, it turns into something ugly and would make anyone wonder if she’s always going to be trapped like those caterpillars or if there will she be able to fly away, like the butterflies?
Read this amazing book to find out if she, like the caterpillar, can transform?
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