Good morning everyone! I’m very excited to be finally revealing the paperback cover for this fantastic book and reshaping my review. I originally read this book last year and it’s definitely one that has stayed with me. I love this new cover, especially the inclusion of the slugs as they were one of my favourite parts of the book.
The Things We Thought We Knew is available in ebook and hardback now, the ebook is currently the bargain price of 99p. The paperback is being published on the 9th of August. To can pre-order or purchase your copy here.
Before I re-share my review with you here is a little bit about the book.
The first memory I have of you is all knickers and legs. You had flipped yourself into a handstand and couldn’t get back down. We became best friends, racing slugs, pretending to be spies – all the things that children do.
Ten years later, eighteen-year-old Ravine Roy spends every day in her room. Completing crosswords and scribbling in her journal, she keeps the outside world exactly where she wants it; outside.
But as the real world begins to invade her carefully controlled space, she is forced to finally confront the questions she’s been avoiding. Who is her mother meeting in secret? Who has moved in next door?
And why, all those years ago, when two girls pulled on their raincoats and wellies and headed out into the woods did only one of them return?
The things we thought we knew is a fascinating, honest but poignant coming of age story. The book is set mainly in the present day, with Ravine bed bound after suffering from chronic pain syndrome. However memories and events from her childhood are interweaved within this as Ravine remembers more about her friendship with Marianne. The childhood memories made me quite nostalgic for my own childhood as I remember doing some of the same things they did. We also used to make up stories about our neighbours being spies, pretended there were monsters in the woods and raced snails (though it’s slugs in the book), so these memories made me smile.
The main character Ravine is a very interesting one and it was fascinating to learn more about chronic pain syndrome. I had a lot of sympathy for her and the life she has been forced to lead but some if her actions, particularly those towards her mother, made her seem quite selfish. From the beginning the author subtly hints that there is more to her current situation than her just having chronic pain syndrome. This becomes more and more apparent as the book goes on and it is this, along with the mystery or what happened to Marianne, that pulls the reader in and makes you want to continue reading. My favourite character was Amma, Ravine’s mum. I loved how strong, confident and sassy she was despite having had quite a tough life. Her love for Ravine is evident throughout the book and it was really touching to read about her efforts to try and help her daughter get better. I found it so poignant to see her efforts rebuffed by Ravine. Her attempts to try and get on with her life were also very sweet, as was the fact she put her plans immediately on hold when Ravine needed her.
Their setting of the novel, a council estate, was really well described. I felt like I could imagine the area Ravine lived in vividly. The descriptions of the multicultural environment that probably exists in most inner city council estates and the characters that lived on it made the setting seem really real as everybody would have come across such characters in their lives or heard stories about them. This setting also helped create a sense of claustrophobia as you get the sense that everybody knows everyone else and their business. I felt that this added to the tension throughout the book as you wait for something to happen or be revealed.
This is the author’s debut novel and I really look forward to reading more from her. If you like books like Elizabeth is missing I think you will like this book as I think the styles are similar.
Huge thanks to Thomas Hill and Transworld publisher for providing me with a copy of this book, I really enjoyed it!
About The Author:
Mahsuda Snaith is the winner of the SI Leeds Literary Prize 2014 and Bristol Short Story Prize 2014, and a finalist in the Mslexia Novel Writing Competition 2013. She lives in Leicester where she leads writing workshops and teaches part-time in primary schools. Mahsuda is a fan of reading (obviously) and crochet (not so obviously). This is her first novel.