Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks
Publishing Date: 6th February 2020
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
THE STUNNING DEBUT WITH A DIFFERENCE. Perfect for fans of One Day and The Rosie Project
Emily just wants to keep the world away.
She doesn’t want anyone to know all the ways her life is messed up.
Going to anger management every Saturday, talking to strangers, was not part of the plan.
Jake just wants to keep his family together.
He’s also messed everything up.
Going to anger management is now his best hope for bonding with his six-year-old Alfie.
Emily can’t understand why Jake – who seems to have it all – is even there.
Jake can’t understand why Alfie – who never likes strangers – lights up around spikey Emily.
Everything they think about each other is about to change.
But can they change how they feel about themselves?
Jake and Emily meet at anger management, though any of them needs it, right? For Jake it is either this or his marriage, and for Emily either this or prison. But still, neither of them feel like they belong there. Jake is a stay at home dad, struggling to come to terms with his son Alfie who simply doesn’t behave like he should behave. Emily, shaven headed and sharp like a razor, tries to come to terms with her broken relationship.
A very unusual friendship between Emily and Alfie starts – they immediately connect and they both bring out the best of each other, even though Alfie actually doesn’t form any other connections with people.
I actually am not sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book, but for sure not this what I’ve got – and I mean it in a very positive way. There was so much depth to this read, it was thought – provoking and very clever, full of sharp observations, realistic but also very, very readable and, both the plot and the characters, have captured my heart.
Alfie’s character was so exceptionally well written, and for this only the book already deserves 5 shining stars. The author has not only brilliantly captured all his quirks, challenges and things that have made him so special but also managed to give him a voice that could in reality really belong to a 6 – years – old boy. I loved Alfie and my heart went to him – however, I could also put myself in Jake’s shoes, and his troubles, dilemmas and feelings were absolutely realistic. I could feel his anger, disorientation, hope and desperation as well as if they were my own.
I adored to see how Alfie blossomed around Emily, how well he has bonded with her and how good she was around him, much better than his own mother. I must admit, at the beginning Jemma and Jake really annoyed me, I wanted them to simply sit down and talk to and with each other, to open up and show their real feelings to each other, but then I was absolutely team Jake. You could not help but fell for Alfie but also to understand Jake’s frustrations, how much he tried to understand Alfie and his needs and how unhappy failing to recognise them have made him. How he loved his son but how he also made him feel so frustrated was heart – breaking.
And Emily was a great characters, there was so much depth to her – outside like a cactus, with spiky exterior and full of thorns and stingy but inside she was vulnerable, loving and sensitive.
Rachel Marks has a great way with words and she can brilliantly and eloquently capture all kinds of emotions, and the way she has written Alfie, with so much understanding and sensitivity, was a highlight of this novel. We know that Alfie’s character is based on Ms Marks’ son, and it shines through the pages that she knows what she’s writing about, that she’s experienced this all by herself but it’s still a sign of a great talent to draw a character so well, to get into their heads so much and write such distinctive and strong perspective. You can really see that Rachel Marks writes with her heart on her sleeve, bringing the situations and characters to life.
I liked how the author placed the romantic elements in the background, focusing on different things – basically the three characters’ lives, their history and troubles with coming to terms with what was happening in their lives. Alfie’s parts of the story, told from his own perspective, were like a breath of fresh air, so different but adding so much depth and giving you a different view, sometimes frustrating, sometimes surprising but always refreshing and heart – wrenching, especially when you were putting yourself in Alfie’s situation, a young boy who couldn’t understand why other people don’t understand him.
“Saturdays at Noon” was sad and uplifting at the same time and with unforgettable characters that were full of flaws but all the same relatable and real. It showed how differently people can perceive the same situation, the same event, the same world. It’s a read that will make you smile and cry, feel frustrated, angry and also full of hope. It is full of hidden messages, how we shouldn’t judge people, their choices and behaviour because we don’t know what’s really hidden in them and their heads, important and vital messages making it thought – provoking and making you wonder all the time, so really, the best kind of read. It’s realistically written and it’s filled with warm humour, a compelling, touching, compassionate and captivating debut novel about parenthood, with all its ups and downs, families and unusual friendship. Hugely recommended!
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