I read a few books published by the lovely people at Pushkin Press before, you can check out my reviews of The Pendragon Legend and Soft In The Head. I have loved all of their books, they publish quite quirky and unusual books that I don't seem to find anywhere else. I received *Whispers Through A Megaphone by Rachel Elliot (£7.99, paperback) and I didn't know what to fully expect apart from that it would be unlike anything else I have read this year.
The book follows Miriam, her past, present and how she wants to change for the future. It also follows her opposite in many ways, Ralph, who is living an ordinary but ultimately unfulfilled life with a wife and two teenage boys; homosexuality is relatively prominent throughout the book which I'm a fan of as I don't tend to read books with gay characters and I want to expand the diversity of the books I read. Ralph and Miriam meet under quite unusual circumstances, which is the case for the rest of the book, and I love the relationship they have - it's platonic which is a change from the rest of the books I've been reading recently. It was interesting to find out about Miriam's life, how she is now in which she hasn't left her home for three years and her relationships with friends and her mentally ill mother who has passed away. I love the writing style, it's quite unusual in a simplistic and 'train of thoughts' kind of way but it is very easy to read even though it deals with a couple of heavy issues such as mental illnesses, secrets, suicide and dysfunctional families of a sort.
I loved Miriam, Ralph, Eric and his family as well as Boo, they are all such interesting, unique, quirky and sweet characters that I could easily see in an independent, slow and kooky British film but then there is Sadie who to put it bluntly is a bit of a bitch - I really didn't like her character and I also didn't like Miriam's mum because of how Miriam had to grow up but she did have mental health issues so I have to forgive her. The only main point about this book that I hated were the six pages that made up chapter 45, I wish chapter 45 was completely different, as it was like reading a completely different book, but sadly it's in there.
Overall, I cannot recommend it enough! It's an unusual, sweet, endearing and thought provoking read that would be perfect if you like books regarding family relationships, family secrets, kooky and sweet characters or past regrets and an identity crisis. It was longlisted for the Baileys women's prize for fiction this year too, so it's definitely worth picking up! Overall rating: ★★★★☆, 4/5.
Have you read this book or anything published by Pushkin Press? What are you currently reading?