Tuesday, May 04, 2010

One of the best books I've read - truly remarkable

I have wanted to read Designer Genes by fellow Poolbeg author Emma Hannigan since I first read about it last year.
It took me a brave while to get around to it - not because I lacked any enthusiasm, more because I was trying to get a couple of books established myself.
But with a long wait in the hairdressers due a few weeks ago, I treated myself and I'm glad I did.
It's almost impossible to believe this is a debut novel. Hannigan writes with such confidence, emotional empathy and humour that it feels as though she has been doing it all her life.
The premise of the book is simple - Emily Cusack, married mum of two kids, finds out she has a wonky gene which predisposes her to breast cancer. Emily decides to have a double mastectomy as a preventative measure and an oopherectomy (the removal over her ovaries).
I know what you will be thinking at this point - a book about cancer, major surgery and boob removal. Sounds like a fecking big barrel of laughs.... not. But it is.
There are genuine laugh out loud moments to sit alongside the weep into your morning cuppa moments. There is a warmth and chatty style to Hannigan's writing which draws you in and makes you care so very deeply about Emily and her family.
Her interactions between he characters - especially between her and her best friend Susie - are brilliantly drawn. The friendship feels real. In fact I finished the book in the wee small hours of this morning feeling they were real and I had been on a proper journey with them.
I want to have tea and biscuits in Dunmahon shopping centre with Emily and Susie and while my arse wouldn't fit in a pair of Victoria Beckham jeans in a blue fit, I would ooh and aah at all the right places.
At times I seethed with professional jealousy reading this book because, mark my words, Hannigan is going to be huge (in a success sense... I'm not suggesting she get fat or anything).
This book is a delight, and an addictive read from start to finish. I have to say it has been a long time since I turned the last page of a book and felt a pang of regret that it was done, but this was one such occasion.
Do yourself a favour, pick up a copy.
Her new book 'Miss Conceived' is due out in July. I'll be off to the shops at the first opportunity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally agree Designer Genes is a great read, I missed her interview on the Late Late and was raging cause I so wanted to see how fab she looks. Mad thing is when reading the book I identified so much with the character as I too have that wonky gene, have gone through a cancer diagnosis at the tender age of 35, had the surgery, the chemo, prevenative bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. And yet I had the laughs along the way, connected with & realised those who love me most and treated myself at those key moments to shopping treats. A dress with matching coat that was way over my budget, a Star by Julien McDonald bag, a sparkly top from Oasis, make-up, organic creams ... all well earned treats. I look forward to reading the new book

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