Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Moment by Claire Dyer

Do you remember the moment your life changed forever?

Paddington station, nine a.m., rush hour. As the crowds ebb and flow, time suddenly stands still for two people: Fern and Elliott, ex-lovers who parted twenty-five years before and never expected to see each other again.

But here they are, face to face, and the connection is as powerful as it was the day they first met. Their lives have moved on - to marriage, children and divorce - yet neither has stopped regretting the day that drove them apart.

Fern gives Elliott her number and they tentatively arrange to meet again that evening when both will be travelling back through the station. 

And, as the day ticks on, and the memories resurface, both Fern and Elliott reflect on the past. As their emotions go round in circles, so does the Paddington clock, counting down the minutes to eight p.m. - and the moment the future is in their hands.

I honestly hate it when I don't love a book.  It doesn't happen often, I'm one of those annoying people who always loves every book she reads. Only occasionally do I find a book I dislike.  I didn't dislike The Moment, for the most part I enjoyed it, but I never felt totally and utterly engaged or engulfed by the characters.  It was the penultimate chapter that made me think that I would be seriously disappointed by it, but the final, short chapter, saved me from hating it.  

I thought the message that the person you are today hinges on an infinite number of moments in your past was a really thought-provoking message, but sadly, this book just didn't satisfy me in the way I imagined it would when I both heard about it and opened it for the first time.  Thinking about it now, after I've had time to digest the ending, it is, of course, the right way to end it.  There isn't any other way to do it.  But it lacks that unconditional romance that I do love to read.  But as I'm fast coming to realise fairytales don't really exist.  This book is about real life; how people make mistakes and people adapt.

The first chapter starts with Fern, one foot poised at the top of the escalator ready to go down to the Circle and District lines in Paddington station.  There is then a relatively long narrative describing what runs through Fern's head at this moment.  Now, I'm not someone who commutes in and out of London, but I know for a fact, that a moments hesitation at the top of an escalator in a tube station is not going to go down well with Londoners.  This was the overriding thought I had when reading this first chapter, and it spoiled what could have been a fabulous start to the book.

I did, however, think that the book was well-written, and it is impressive that Claire Dyer managed to fit the history of 25 years into a day (and this book).  It was wonderful to see each of Fern and Elliott living out the same historical moments, but from their own perspective, and how actually if they'd have followed their instinct back then things would have turned out different.  However, at times, I did find it a little repetitive as you were experiencing the same moment twice, sometimes more throughout the book.  I also found myself glossing over parts of the book that didn't directly involve Fern or Elliott as it didn't seem to engage me enough to make me savor every word.

That said, if you read the back of this book and you think it might be something you'd like....try it.  Don't let me disappointment put you off, I'm probably just craving that fairytale escapism that is more commonplace in novels.

The Moment was released on 12 September 2013, and thank you Cecilia Keating from Midas PR for the review copy.

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