The Sparkle Pages…
About the Book:
A wonderfully original and heartfelt comic novel about one woman’s mission to reignite the passion in her marriage – and rediscover herself.
‘Is marriage just a series of texts about where the children are and whether we need milk until one of you dies?’
Susannah Parks – wife, mother, cleaner of surfaces and runner of household – is a viola virtuoso. Except she hasn’t picked up a viola for over a decade. She has, however, picked up a lot of Lego, socks, wet towels and other exhibits of mundanity. She has also picked up on the possibility that her husband has lost interest in her. (And frankly, she’s not very interested in Susannah Parks either.) But this year, she has resolved to be very interesting. Also thoughtful, useful, cheerful, relevant, self-sufficient, stylish, alluring and intelligent.
In her highly confidential diary, Susannah documents the search for the elusive spark in her marriage, along with all the high and low notes of life with her four beloved children, with her free-spirited (and world famous) best friend Ria, and with Hugh, the man who fills her heart with burning passion and her washing pile with shirts.
And perhaps amid the chaos she might be brave enough to find the missing pieces of herself.
WARNING: CONTAINS STRONG LANGUAGE, SEX SCENES AND FANTASIES ABOUT HUSBANDS UNPACKING THE DISHWASHER.
I wanted so much to like this novel. It’s so beautifully sparkly with its gold page edges and gold foil cover design, but you really should never judge a book by its cover – that old saying is so true! I persevered with this one until around the 80 page mark, but with an ever growing review pile, I’ve begun to be a bit more savage and have decided that if a book isn’t grabbing me a few chapters in, I’m going to pass on it. I skipped ahead from page 80 to the last two chapters, and it seemed like a very nice story, but that alone wasn’t enough to keep me going. I’ve seen some favourable reviews for this novel, from bloggers I follow as well as on Goodreads, so I think it’s worth explaining why this book just didn’t work for me.
‘Hugh sighed and said, “Don’t overthink it, Susannah. Don’t dream up problems. We’re fine.”’
This quote, from page 43, pretty much sums up my feelings on this story. The whole thing seemed set to be about Susannah overthinking things, hiding in her closet to write about them, rinse, repeat. Diary narratives are not a favourite of mine, and this one is entirely a diary, there’s no break from it, so no break from Susannah. I’m also not a fan of parenting novels: the type where much of the story is made up of the daily grind of parenting depicted with overblown comic conjecture. I’m currently living that daily grind, minus the comedy; I don’t want to read about it. I read to escape, to walk in different shoes, not to be reminded of my everyday life. Sometimes, a book can be particularly funny, or endearing enough to cut through this for me – a recent example: How to Be Second Best by Jessica Dettman, but this is rare. I just don’t like reading about parents and their kid issues. They pale in comparison to real life and after a while, the spills, sassy back-chat, and endless rounds of mayhem cease to be funny. I’m also having an on again off again relationship with contemporary fiction at present. So there’s a few reasons why this one didn’t work for me, and it’s pretty much a clear cut case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’.
I have no doubt that fans of contemporary fiction, especially chick-lit, will find much to enjoy in this novel.
Shelley from Book’d Out enjoyed The Sparkle Pages – check out her review here.
Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House Australia for providing me with a copy of The Sparkle Pages for review.
The Sparkle Pages
Published by Penguin Random House Australia
Released on 16th April 2019