Growing Up For Beginners by Claire Calman – Blog Tour

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Thank to Claire Calman, Boldwood Books and Netgalley for a copy of this book in return for an honest review and Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising this blog tour.

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It’s not easy being a grown-up, but at 47, Eleanor hoped she’d be better at it by now…

When Eleanor waves her daughter off for a gap-year trip, she finds herself stuck as a satellite wife, spinning in faithful orbit around her domineering husband, with only her clever but judgmental father Conrad for comfort.

Andrew isn’t mastering the art of growing up either. But when he finds his belongings dumped in bin bags on the drive, even he can see that his girlfriend is hinting he should move out. With no other options, he moves back in with his parents.

Backing onto their garden lives artist Cecilia, living in chaotic clutter and dreaming of her ex-lovers, still acting like a stroppy teenager at the age of 66.

Four lives are drawn together by long-buried secrets of the past, and it is time for them all to grow up… before it’s too late.

My Thoughts

This novel had me at the first paragraph because (and here’s a little secret), it described me to a T.

This is such a surprising gem of a novel.  It’s very character driven but so cleverly written with threads that cross.  Each character is beautifully developed and not your typical character.  They all have quirks and flaws but are all equally beautiful and engaging.

Eleanor is a quiet and gentle soul, married to a man who just doesn’t get or appreciate her and seems to spend all his time trying to change her into a more ‘normal’ character instead.  Her father Conrad is struggling in retirement, dedicated to his work and finding himself at a lose end since his wife died.  Andrew has been dumped by his girlfriend and is currently living back with his parents; an overly doting mother and a pacifist father.  Cecilia is a colourful and eccentric artist  of a more mature age but very day dreamy and a little out of touch with reality, longing for days of her youth.

The characters are so diverse and wonderfully different but their stories all merge in a gentle way.  It’s difficult not to grow fond of each character in the novel as they are all endearing and unique.

Claire tackles some family issues such as sibling and parental relationships and adultry and completely brings each character to life.

A wonderful character driven novel.

Growing Up For Beginners

Author Bio – Claire Calman

CC - author pic - cropped

Claire Calman is a writer and broadcaster known for her novels that combine wit and pathos, including the bestseller Love is a Four-Letter Word. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Loose Ends.

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