My book review of 'The First Day of Spring' by Nancy Tucker
The First Day of Spring
This wouldn't be a book I would normally choose to read, but I'm glad I did!
Chrissie is eight. She is often hungry and dirty, and she steals sweets from the corner shop. Her mother doesn't know how to look after her and the dad isn't around. Chrissie is cheeky and angry, confused and lonely. She wants love and attention but doesn't know how to reach out for help.
Then she does something which provides a release for all that pent up emotion. It makes her feel powerful and in control, and she thinks she might need to do it again.
Fifteen years later, we also meet Julie, a young mum trying to look after her five-year-old daughter. Money is tight and she's trying her best, but the threat of social services is constant fear.
I thought this a brilliant book. As gripping and tense as a thriller, but touching, moving and challenging as our loyalties and preconceptions are brought into question. This is a difficult subject handled with sensitivity. You believe entirely in the characters and events and can never forget the catastrophic and horrendous tragedy and its impact on so many lives. But your engagement means that you long to find a solution so that this might never happen again.
In a letter to the reader, the author, who worked in a children's psychiatric unit, says: "Media reporting can be slanted towards blame and condemnation, but I hope this book will encourage readers to think harder about the circumstances that lead people to do unthinkable things."
A stunning read. Powerful, moving and troubling.