My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

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By Savanna Gaskell

By Savanna Gaskell

READ TO SUCCEED #3
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece written by Annabel Pitcher is a captivating story which is narrated through the perspective of a young boy, James Matthews as he tells the enthralling and emotional story of his struggle to comprehend the tragedy that tore his family apart. Jamie’s older sister Rose was killed in a terrorist bombing and following this event the relationships within his family begin to exhibit extensive strain. James’ father develops a dangerous alcohol problem and his mother estranges them because she is unacquainted with sufficient methods of dealing with her grief. These background details are introduced prior to the climax of the story and this provides the reader with a more comprehensive understanding of the story, and more importantly the themes. The book is constructed around two key themes, Discrimination and Greif. Family is very appropriately and insightfully entwined into the theme of Greif, as the story is strongly directed by the reaction of individuals to the emotions that afflict them.  Jamie’s family has gone into meltdown, escalating in his Mum leaving and his alcoholic Dad deciding to up sticks and move the family including Rose’s twin sister, Jasmine, from London to an isolated, rural area in the Lake District.  Jamie is a stoical figure, often wishing life were better but he holds onto the idea that his Mum will come back to them and that his parents will be able to move on from Rose’s death.  The Story examines grief and the ways in which it can tear families apart. Jamie’s Dad is so focussed on his own grief that he becomes blind to the needs of his remaining living family. The heavy-drinking father that is portrayed, I sense, intentionally, was never fully fleshed out. He is mired in racial prejudice, blaming Muslims for all the ills of Britain and more so for the death of his beloved daughter. You take on trust that being mad with grief has created this...
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