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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

LONGLISTED FOR THE GILLER PRIZE From "this generation's answer to Alice Munro" (Vancouver Sun) comes a sly, sensual, haunting novel about two women whose lives collide when tragedy changes them forever. Saskia and Jenny are twins alike in appearance only: Saskia is a grad student with a single-minded focus on her studies, while Jenny is glamorous, thrill-seeking, and capricious. Still, when Jenny is severely injured in an accident, Saskia puts her life on hold to be with her sister. Sara and Mattie are sisters with another difficult dynamic. Mattie, who is younger, is intellectually disabled. Sara loves nothing more than fine wines, perfumes, and expensive clothing, and leaves home at the first opportunity. But when their mother dies, Sara inherits the duty of caring for her sister. She moves Mattie in with her--but it's not long until tragedy strikes. Now, both Sara and Saskia, having been caregivers for so long, find themselves on their own. Yet through a cascade of circumstanc…

Consent: A Novel

by Annabel Lyon

Overall Book Review:

I’ll admit, there are quite a few books that I am drawn to because of their cover, and sometimes I don’t even read the synopsis before beginning the book. Other times I do a little more research into the book before deciding to commit myself to reading it. In the case of Consent, I was drawn in by the cover and just read a little of the synopsis before diving in, as it sounded like a story I could easily submerse myself in. 

Saskia and Jenny are twins but couldn’t be more different. An accident occurs and Jenny is stuck in a hospital bed, just a shadow of the rambunctious girl she was previously. As events unfold, Saskia finds herself spending lots of time with Jenny, and even takes to wearing her clothes–perhaps in an attempt to keep her spirit alive or inspire her to strive to recover. Sara and Mattie are sisters that don’t really have much in common either. Mattie has always been more fragile and has always needed someone to take care of her. So, when Sara and Mattie’s mother dies and Sara is left with Mattie to take care of, it doesn’t come as too much of a surprise.

At first, I wasn’t quite sure why I was reading about two different sets of sisters. It wasn’t until further into the book that I discovered the significance behind some of the characters and the connections they have. Two different sets of sisters, each with similar family dynamics, each set having one sister take on the role of caregiver…but what happens when they no longer need to fill that role? Who are they when they are no longer needed as caregivers? And who are they without their sisters?

Review of a Digital Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Knopf

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  6 religious exclamations; 4 mild obscenities; 3 derogatory names; 6 scatological words; 3 anatomical terms; 13 F-word derivatives. 

Violence/Gore:  A man is mentioned to have died from a heart attack; a man is mentioned to be arrested for the rape and murder of a model; a  motorcycle crash is mentioned to occur with the rider dying; murder is referred to in a brief scene; a criminal record is mentioned with theft, bad checks, marijuana possession mentioned among the charges; a man is mentioned to have a criminal history of sexual assault; a woman is mentioned to have been in a car crash that resulted in her hitting her head on the steering wheel of the car she was driving and ending up in a coma; a man is mentioned to have died from stomach cancer; a child is referred to as being violent; a report is made of a young woman dying in the hospital; a woman is mentioned to enjoy watching thrilling shows with violence, deranged killers, and sex in them; a man is mentioned to have been charged with stalking and drug possession; a brief scene occurs where a man and woman fight and the woman falls and hits her head on the ground and later dies from this injury; a car crash is mentioned to have killed the parents of a young woman; a man mentions kicking a dog and it later died from internal bleeding; two characters planned to died together by suicide; one character  poisoning a character and observes them slowly dying in one brief scene; a man is violent with a woman and pulls her hair in one brief scene. 

Sex/Nudity:  Adults kiss briefly; a brief mention is made of a woman being touched by a man and experiencing pain and pleasure when he touches her and bites her breast; a brief scene occurs where a woman undresses in front of a store clerk to try on a dress; a woman refers to male anatomy in a conversation; a man kisses a woman on the cheek; a man is noticed to be sexually aroused in one brief mention; a conversation is had where a man is mentioned to have possibly raped women; a brief scene occurs where a male teacher talks to a female student about a project and it involves a paper being written on pornographic material; an adult couple kiss; a report is made of a male sitting by a woman in a hospital bed and exposing her breasts and pleasuring himself in one brief scene; a man kisses a woman’s hair; a woman thinks about her experience of having increasingly violent sex with a man and mentions the female anatomy and the act of sex, no explicit detail; a man and woman hug in one brief scene and the woman becomes aware that the man is sexually aroused, he kisses her hair; adultery and watching porn is mentioned in no detail.

Mature Subject Matter:

Murder; loss of a loved one; divorce; extramarital affair; suicide.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

A character smells cigarette smoke; a woman drinks wine; a woman is mentioned to be drunk; adults smoke and drugs are referred to; a woman offers her daughter sherry; a woman is mentioned to be drinking overpriced wine; a woman is mentioned to have a high blood alcohol level after a car crash; meth use is mentioned; a man is mentioned to be charged with possession of drugs; a woman mentions attending narcotics anonymous; vodka is mentioned to be served at a party; a man is mentioned to have a drug problem.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.