Synopsis: It’s 2015, and Patricia Cowan is very old. “Confused today,” read the notes clipped to the end of her bed. She forgets things she should know—what year it is, major events in the lives of her children. But she remembers things that don’t seem possible. She remembers marrying Mark and having four children. And she remembers not marrying Mark and raising three children with Bee instead. She remembers the bomb that killed President Kennedy in 1963, and she remembers Kennedy in 1964, declining to run again after the nuclear exchange that took out Miami and Kiev.
Her childhood, her years at Oxford during the Second World War—those were solid things. But after that, did she marry Mark or not? Did her friends all call her Trish, or Pat? Had she been a housewife who escaped a terrible marriage after her children were grown, or a successful travel writer with homes in Britain and Italy? And the moon outside her window: does it host a benign research station, or a command post bristling with nuclear missiles?
Two lives, two worlds, two versions of modern history. Each with their loves and losses, their sorrows and triumphs. My Real Children is the tale of both of Patricia Cowan’s lives…and of how every life means the entire world.
Review: When I saw the theme of the story I admit that I was very intrigued. How could a heroine remember two different lives at the same time? Which one is real?
We thus begin the story by discovering Patricia today, a woman who is in a nursing home and can read every day the notes from the doctors saying if she is confused or not. But whatever she might read there, Patricia remembers two different lives, two lives that gave her different children and have seen various world events.
Thus we follow Patricia’s life or, at least, two lives since her childhood. Both correlate fairly well until she enters in college and meets with Mark … Ah Mark, a man and a big change in her life. It is here that her lives diverge, with an unhappy marriage, or a life with a young woman she meets while traveling. I admit that I was surprised by two diametrically opposed stories. Thus, we discover her joys, sorrows, challenges, her children, and her whole life until her mental deterioration.
I was quite hooked by the story with the first chapter but it’s true that the backward with the Patricia childhood changed that. It must be said that the religion became a central theme to the story and it’s not necessarily what is the most appealing to me. I always have a little trouble when religion becomes a bit too present and it is true that it put me a little behind. After that, it’s true that the story is not really action packed but it was interesting to see Patricia evolve, to see the different facets she could have, to discover how her children would grow up and become adults. It was also very moving to see the relationship of our heroine with her children, her love and devotion whatever happens.
It was an interesting read, different from what we can usually find. I didn’t really get into the story, but I still had a good time with the whole. It was touching to see Patricia evolve, and changing with the trials in her life.
Because of personal reasons I’ve become quite interested in literature involving the ‘confused’ (or not) elderly and this one intrigues me. Definitely a book I’ll keep a look out for – possibly add to my wish list – thank you for sharing .
yes it’s a really interesting topic there
It sounds like a decent enough read, but the premise is beyond amazing and I would have hoped for more. I love suspense and I am curious why there are two lives of memories for one person.
yes it’s really interesting
Sounds like an intriguing plot. I could see myself getting confused in the back and forth though initially.
Ooh I quite like the cover for this one! I really like the concept for this one as well – I shall look into this book!
Nice review, Melliane <33
Yay, I will read this one soon
so curious to see what you think of it!
“I always have a little trouble when religion becomes a bit too present and it is true that it put me a little behind.”
Same here Melliane. I tend to shy away from anything that has strong religious undertones, so that aspect of the story would be a bit challenging for me. Still, it sounds like it was a solid read overall!
yeah it’s quite tricky for me…
This one looks really interesting and I’ve actually had it for a while. One of these days I’ll have to read it or something else by Jo Walton, I can’t believe I haven’t yet. When the time comes it’ll either be this one or her Among Others, which I’ve heard a lot of great stuff about. I guess it’ll depend on what kind of mood I’m in. Thanks for the review!
I heard great things about the author, I think I need to try something else.
I already have this one on my list. Just like you, I thought the premise was pretty incredible. I can’t wait to read it 🙂
I hope you’ll like it!
I actually really like unique reads like this one. Glad you liked it even if it wasn’t mind blowing. It really does sound original.
yes it was
The cover is gorgeous and the summary has me very curious. I’m glad you tried some different and enjoyed it overall. The two facets of her life sound pretty fascinating. 🙂
yes it was interesting to see what she did and how the events were changing
I like the sound of the past lives and being able to remember them, but I am like you when the religion part creeps in and gets to be too much, I get turned off.
yes a bit like that
Sorry this didn’t completely hook you. It has an intriguing synopsis though, I do agree.
yes it has
Too bad it wasn’t spectacular, I get why you’re drawn though. Have you read Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life? It’s similar to this and better, in case you want to give this theme another whirl.
no I haven’t but I’ll check this one out, thank you!
Interesting but I think that if you felt the religious aspect became too prominent then I know I will as well. At least it was a decent read.
yes it was quite interesting
Oh that sounds like a very interesting concept. I like the idea. Glad you liked it. 🙂
I don’t mind when there’s religion in a book, movie, song or TV show, but when there’s too much of it I find it annoying. Therefore, I don’t think I would enjoy this any more than you did, so better stay away. ^^ Great review, though!!
Hey, by the way, have you ever read la bande dessinée «La belle écarlate?» If you haven’t, I REALLY recommend it, even if BDs are not your thing.
I didn’t know about this BD no, but I’ll check this one out. thank you!
Shame you didn’t really get into it, but yay for something different! 🙂
it all sounds intriguing, and yes, different from anything we’re read before. Gla you liked it!
Admittedly this sounds intriguing I am not sure it produced the desired effect, I do like the premise
I can’t read a book were religion is the main theme. It’s just not fun for me.