Posted 20 hours ago

Jane is Trying (W&N Essentials)

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With an increasing load on her plate, friends and family who think she’ll have a perfect life if she only listens to them, and a brain which questions every decision she’s ever made, can Jane conquer her demons and step forward on her own? That said, I am a fan of Issy Sutty and her writing, and her handling of trauma in the novel was tackled with sensitivity and realism. I wasn’t sure going how much of the book would be fertility talk, but it wasn’t a huge amount of the story. It was hard but what I produced was probably no better or worse than if I’d rented a remote cottage or been shrouded in Gauloises smoke.

There’s an abundance of quirky characters scattered throughout this story, a hint of romance and lots of funny moments - though Jane definitely has some bad luck and unpleasant memories of The Arch lurking in the background. Suttie brightens the page with her eccentric characters and wonderful observations of small-town life. I really enjoyed it and sympathised with Janes anxieties, i think we have all done the double check the gas is off before or straighteners but doing it 16 times a time is mad!With fertility problems, OCD that she refuses to acknowledge, a smidge of trauma and a cheating boyfriend, Jane has found herself in a life she doesn’t understand. The mystery behind room 3 was not satisfying and there were quite a few contradictions in her behaviour that didn’t seem realistic. The story didn't intrigue and the themes such as mental health etc were dealt with at a superficial level. Many of the characters blend together and names were often used without context which made parts of the narrative hard to follow. The protagonist of this novel is an ungrateful, neurotic, spoilt and self-centred middle class brat who improves very little throughout the story arc.

As for the circuit, my worry is that up-and-coming comics from a less-privileged background have been forced to give up and they might not start again. The story of a near-40 year old trying to conceive, being cheated on and moving back to her parents' in the provinces had themes common to many other books I've read. A light and engaging tale, with a likeable and relatable less-than-perfect female protagonist with obsessive compulsive tendencies. Some of Jane's musings are so relatable you'll catch yourself laughing out loud, slightly alarmed by the accuracy .Smothered by small-town life, Jane realises she may have been running away from that the whole time anyway. This is a funny and sweet story about trying to start afresh when your past haunts you, and the realities of being an independent adult.

The second series of her Sony award-winning radio series ISY SUTTIE'S LOVE LETTERS was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 2014, and in 2014 she made her musical theatre debut as the starring role in THE A-Z OF MRS P at the Southwark Playhouse. Also shout out to the birthing scene, one of the few pieces of writing that's come close to making me actually laugh out loud. I really did enjoy the first part of this book, I laughed out loud and enjoyed finding out more about Jane.I also wish that more time was spent on identifying the point of the story because, in its current form, there's a lot going on with a lot of waffling towards the middle. Don’t even get me started on the others… Monica the therapist, the friendship with Kelly… The characters were so silly and unbelievable. I know Jane has her issues but it just became too frustrating to read and her reactions to everything, particularly her parents were too extreme. I’d get a 27-minute window, run up to bed because it was the quietest place in the house and get down as many words as I could.

But there’s a dry, tragi-comic farce to some of the situations Jane lands herself in and a dry wit in the way many of the larger-than-life characters that populate this small town are depicted, some decidedly quirkier than others.Jane is a woman in her late thirties, stuck in her parents house in the Peak District after leaving her boyfriend behind in London. Now she’s about to publish her debut novel, Jane Is Trying, about an anxiety sufferer’s struggles to get pregnant. Her TV credits include Dobby in Peep Show and Esther in Shameless , plus appearances on 8 Out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie To You?

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