4 out of 4 stars
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Sarah Marie Graye´s novel, The Second Cup, is a story predominantly about friendship and self-acceptance.
Four friends, Faye, Olivia, Beth and Abbie, have all met separately through happenstances of fate. All very different people, they somehow find a commonality which glues them together. However, when Faye thinks she sees a long lost love on the street, she is shocked by the effect it has on her. She confronts the rest of the girls as to whether they are really living their lives to the full. While this is a simple question, it throws them all off balance, forcing them to question their life choices, their work and their own relationships.
When tragedy strikes, their group is shaken to the core. Will they be able to rebuild the group friendship they once had, and, more importantly, will they be able to rebuild themselves?
Written in a mix of first and third person, the story follows each character as they develop in their own story. The switching between the perspectives, while a little confusing at first, enables the reader to not only get a personal insight into each character, but also an overview of the situation as the story moves along.
The four main characters were so realistic and relatable that I was able to see myself in several of them. However, it would have been nice to have had a bit more of a contrast between each of the characters as when the story was in first person, they sometimes tended to blend together, making it easy to forget who was talking. I enjoyed Olivia´s character the most as I felt she developed so much in her confidence and feelings of self-worth. At first I felt a bit annoyed at her always being the victim, looking to be rescued, but she showed that anyone can change for the better. Faye, I thought, was very emotional and portrayed confidence to hide her insecurities. These four women seemed to be very representative of different categories of people; those that can adapt to change, those that are destroyed by it and those who willfully hide from it.
For what seems like a relatively simple story, there were a lot of insights into mental health, self-confidence and the insecurities people have in everyday life. It also looked at the various coping methods which people utilize, whether it be alcohol abuse or projecting an over confident, eccentric facade.
Set in Manchester, England, the author hits the nail on the head with the gloomy depressing weather, the pub life and the constant thought of getting on a train and letting it lead you to a new start, or at least to provide temporary escape from the mundane ritual of daily life. Overall I enjoyed the book and I rate it 4 out of 4 stars. Classified as other fiction, the writing flows well and is easy to read, however, it’s not a bright, happy read. It is more suited to those readers who enjoy a serious book and are not put off by mental health subjects such as depression or suicide.
The Second Cup
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