The Weaning by Hannah Vincent – A Review

This book has BLOWN. ME. AWAY.

I’m writing this review having only recently closed the pages on it and my heart is still thumping. I devoured it in one two hour sitting and when I was done I wanted to stop everyone I saw and tell them that my heart was broken.

Man alive! I can’t rave about this book enough! I’ll try to get some semblance of sense down for you.

Here goes.

Bobbi is a childminder who quite literally lives for the children she comes into contact with. Making deep connections and putting her entire self into their care. Making sure they are cared for, loved, fed and safe. She takes a job with an upper class couple to look after their baby Marcel.

Simultaneously Bobbi also volunteers as a childminder for vulnerable young parents who are struggling with parenthood. Her own children Lily and John are no longer babies and she finds herself drawn to the babies and toddlers in her care.

Some of Bobbi’s behaviour is odd, slightly off. There is definitely something amiss and this sense of ill ease is expertly interwoven into the story. It is oh so very difficult to review this book without giving too much away. We see Bobbi form relationships with Rob and Nicki, the couple who’s child she looks after and also Kim who’s baby Jade she looks after.

He doesn’t have the strength yet to roll onto his front, so I push his little body, showing him how it will feel when he can do it for himself. I roll him over and then back again, and then, because I like the weight of him against my hand; the resistance of his little body as it tips from one position to another, I do it again and again until he complains.

Bobbi also starts a relationship with her neighbour whom she dubs the Silver Fox or Foxy. Their relationship is not an easy one, with Bobbi a closed book, distant and somewhat reticent.

The sense of trepidation and apprehension surrounding Bobbi is perfectly paced. It builds up to a startling revelation around 92 pages in which actually gave me goosebumps. I had to put the book down and take a breath.

The writing is so visceral (I hate that word but it IS). I felt swept along, caught up in the sense of something not being quite right. Desperate to find out what had happened. Wanting to see how life for Bobbi was going to unravel….because you know it just will.

At 159 pages this is not a long book but for me it was a little powerhouse of emotion. Now I’m usually an ice queen but I felt myself welling up several times. Not in a shmaltzy emotional way but more like someone had reached into my chest and ripped my heart out. *wow Mand, dramatic much?!*

There’s a lot to be said for a book that doesn’t tie up all the loose ends. In fact I think I prefer those kinds of stories. Ones that leave you wanting more. Dropping you like a stone and closing the door in your face.

I just write. I write and I am written. I am not a non-person and I am not an outline of a person, but this is a ghost story and I am the ghost….

This book is more than just an expertly crafted story, it’s more like an actual experience. It will stick with me for ever such a long time and it goes without saying that I will be shouting from the rooftops about it.

Without doubt a full on 5 star read for me. Can’t wait to read more of Hannah Vincent’s work. Also kudos to Salt who have published some of my most favourite books to date. You always know you’re in safe hands with them.

See you soon (when my heart is less broken)

Bookish Chat xxx

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