Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Playground by Julia Kelly

Eve is left alone with a young daughter after her partner walks out on her. Facing adulthood and all of the responsibilities that come with it doesn’t come naturally to her. Her relationship with her mother, for instance, is rocky as she recognises the sharp comments followed by soothing reassurances. Nonetheless, they move to a rented flat in the seaside town of Bray, overcoming their initial prejudices about the town they settle in and form a community based around the playground. However, when Eve is blamed for an unfortunate accident she is left wondering if the personal development she’s made has been lost forever, can she move on in her life yet again?

Unusual inspiration

After attempting to write another novel, Kelly endured a tearful conversation with her agent who was telling her everything wrong with it. The novel was supposed to be the second of her two book deal with Quercus (the first being her bestselling With My Lazy Eye). In an interview with, Kelly speaks of the “pure panic” that inspired The Playground: “During a tearful telephone conversation with my agent….I stared out my sitting room window and watched children in the playground across the road. She asked if I had any other ideas. Needing to say something and needing to honour my deal, I said that I could maybe try writing about the playground. I talked a little bit about things I found interesting as a new mother: that primal instinct to protect your child, how everyone gives you advice that is so often conflicting, how people are expected to be parents when they haven’t quite grown up themselves and so on.”

Outstanding delivery

Whilst the inspiration was off-the-cuff, its delivery is not. Kelly’s writing style invites the reader to get inside her character’s mind: to see things that they alone witness. This allows for moments of pure insight as much as for comedy. At first I found this style of writing quite hard to get into. Soon enough, however, you overcome the initial discomfort and relish the unique perspective this style of writing offers you as a reader. I especially found the descriptions of the local community interesting, as you trace the character’s progression through their perception of those around them. If you read this novel for its plot alone, you will be disappointed. It isn’t a turbulent tale rushing from one disaster to another: it unravels slowly and carefully. In my opinion, it’s best read for the insight into the character’s mind, in what seems to be a fresh (and very welcome) style of writing. 

It is available from Amazon on Kindle for £3.99 or paperback for £7.99 

Have you read The Playground? Or anything else by Julia Kelly? 
If so, let me know what you thought of it in the comments!



Em ♥ said...

this sounds like a read i would really enjoy,

great blog post,

em @ x

Bemused Bookworm said...

Hmm, this sounds interesting. I'm not a mother myself but i think this would be a very interesting read. Thanks for posting on it. :)

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