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Bye Mam, I Love You - Book Group Discussion Thread

6 watchers
Oct 2017
8:31pm, 18 Oct 2017
19709 posts
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OK, I read it. Thanks to Columba for sending it to me in a plain envelope so I wouldn't have to undergo the ignominy of going to our local library and asking for it. I have to admit that I *have* sometimes read those Take-a-Break type magazines when I've been at my in-laws and had nothing else to read but even those didn't make me feel as ill as this did. I hated it. I didn't even want to give it a 1, I wanted to give it a 0 and withdraw all copies from the shelves.

As previous posters have said, it's difficult to see who benefits from a book like this. Not only was it awful to make 'entertainment' from such a tragic chain of events, it was so badly written. The style was dreadful, and it didn't even hang together. She kept saying things like 'I would be glad that xxx hadn't happened later on' and then xxx was never mentioned again. I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it. Surely a ghost writer should have made sure that it was at least internally coherent.

I totally agree about both the ridiculous and unlikely perfection of Becca coupled with the total unpleasantness of her mother. It's quite a feat to write a (true) book in the first person that makes you hate the narrator. And the bit with the medium nearly finished me off.

I also found her extreme anger towards Becca's father difficult to take with no explanation other than hinted-at violence. He was bereaved too, and no matter what he had done to her/the family, he had rights and feelings. And I understand her anger towards the murderer, but since the book was so one-dimensional we got no insight into why he might have done such a thing or what might have happened to him to make him like he was.

Of course it's too much to ask a grieving mother to see things from anything other than her point of view, but that's why THEY SHOULDN'T WRITE BOOKS.

And breathe.
Oct 2017
3:14pm, 27 Oct 2017
8795 posts
  • 0
Having read it, I should say something about it, and I hope my perspective is unique to the group. Going to keep this as short as I can.
About 15 years ago, the partner of a member of my immediate family was murdered in Nepal.

I didn't see anything unexpected in Sonia's reactions, her inability to see straight and judge people consistently, her desire to do anything she could to push towards what she believed was the just outcome (in our case, it seemed highly likely the wrong people had been convicted), and I thought she bore up well compared to how my relative did, frankly. (I was still cross about the medium visit - not her fault that she was looking for comfort wherever she could find it, but these people are frauds). I could believe that getting it all written down might have been emotionally helpful for her.

15 years seems to be just about long enough to look back on these things with a bit of calm and distance (it's stirred up some bad memories, but no worse from reading the book than from reading the back cover blurb, and it's not making me feel more down so far as I can tell).

That's all I'd want to share publicly about this. I cannot even imagine writing a book about it (though those of you I know personally, I'd tell you more over a pint or two, maybe - not all of it is awful).
Oct 2017
3:23pm, 27 Oct 2017
2098 posts
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Thanks Badger. For most of us, its impossible to imagine what it would be like to go through such a tragedy.
Oct 2017
3:30pm, 27 Oct 2017
31721 posts
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Wow, thanks Badger. Can't imagine how you managed to read BMILY given the circumstances but impressed you did.
Oct 2017
3:53pm, 27 Oct 2017
8798 posts
  • 0
I wouldn't have been able to ten years ago. For a while I found it hard to stay off the subject, because we all thought about it so much. Couple of weeks ago I was talking to someone about ultras and walking holidays, and she mentioned going on Exodus' Everest base camp trip; I mentioned the above in one sentence, filed it under 'not the time and place for this' and moved on to something else. I can see how the process of getting the book written might have accelerated that for her.
Oct 2017
7:06pm, 27 Oct 2017
19843 posts
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Gosh. Thank you, Badger. I'm also impressed that you read it. And feel a bit mean for judging the author.
Oct 2017
7:23pm, 27 Oct 2017
8026 posts
  • 0
Little Nemo
Thanks for sharing that, Badger.

That was another aspect that the book didn't have but your post explains why it's hard to expect the family to have time yet for a more balanced account of what happened.

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About This Thread

Maintained by McGoohan
This is a thread for discussing the October 2017 Book Group choice, Bye Mam, I Love You by Sonia Oat...

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