Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Truth About Melody Browne

Since I have been blogging my reading experience has broadened and become a much more colourful and varied journey. Perhaps I should allude to my life as "pre - and post - blogging" not least of all because I have read books I would never have picked up before, especially as I began to find fellow bloggers with similar taste to mine and started to follow their recommendations. It was by doing this that I became a fan of Lisa Jewell.

The lovely Dot's at Dot Scribbles writes some great reviews. It was because of Dot's enthusiasm for Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, that I read her work for the first time. I became so enthralled that I had to read all I could find of du Maurier's and became a huge fan. The same happened with Lisa Jewell. Following the success of finding and loving all things du Maurier, when I read Dot's comments about Lisa Jewell I began to look out for her books, too. The first one I found was Vince & Joy, which I really enjoyed and I fast became a Jewell fan reading 31 Dream Street next. Imagine then how happy I was to find The Truth About Melody Browne when I was on my last trip to the local second hand book store. I rushed home clutching the book tightly, hardly able to wait to open the cover - (my guilty truth is that I would have started to read it on my walk home had I not had so many shopping bags to carry!). I rushed like mad to put the shopping away and cook dinner and when all was done, I dashed upstairs and opened the first page. I didn't stop reading until the last page was turned, by which time it was 3.30 a.m.

I loved every word of it and although it has a fairly simple storyline, it does bring up many thought provoking questions about the attitude of society towards people with unusual lifestyles, the social service system in England, moral dilemma's relating to telling the whole truth to children, parenting methods, ownership of one's personal identity and dealing with depression - "the black dog".

Melody Browne lost everything she owned when her house burned down when she was nine years old. She also lost all memory of her life before the fire. At fifteen she became pregnant and her parents' disapproval forced her to leave home and bring up her baby alone. We meet Melody in her early thirties, living in a council flat in Covent Garden with her son who is about to turn 18. Melody has not seen her parents since the day she walked out, but, in spite of this, she is happy enough with her life until a chance meeting changes everything and sends her on an unusual journey to find out who she really is.

One day on her way home from work, she jumps onto a bus as it starts to rain and sits next to a good looking stranger. They hit it off from the start and before the journey ends the stranger asks for her mobile number. This leads Melody on her first date in years and they go to see a hypnotist show where she is selected from the audience and called up onto the stage. She is instructed to become a child of 5 years old with a runny nose and a serious wind problem. The audience think it is hilarious as she runs around the stage making lots of loud noises but it stops being quite so funny when she passes out as the hypnotists clicks his fingers to bring her round from the regression.

After her head clears a bit and she regains consciousness she feels totally different than she felt before and in the days that follow she starts to have flashes of memories from what she can only assume must be her early childhood. Small fragments of unrelated images come into her mind at first; eating ice cream, a crash helmet, images of rooms, a big house by the seaside and a mews house in London, names of people she knows nothing about but who she feels mean something to her. Melody wonders if she is losing her mind but slowly she starts to piece together her early life and when she gets the first confirmation of names and places she has recalled, she realises that she is not who she thinks she is and her past is not as she believed it to be.

This is such a lovely book. There were moments when I read on through tears and others when I smiled at the dialogue. I couldn't put it down and didn't want it to end. When I had finished reading I thought of all the questions the story raised and I know Melody and her journey of discovery will stay in my mind for a long time to come.

Having read The Truth About Melody Browne now only confirms for me that Lisa Jewell is a great writer with an easy to read style and wonderfully drawn, believable characters, who become so likable you want to cheer them on or hold them close during their times of despair and sadness. I can't wait to read more of her work.

Have you read any Lisa Jewell books?


  1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments! This is such a good book isn't it? Lisa Jewell has a sequel to Ralph's Party coming out in April, I can't wait!!

  2. I really enjoyed this book and absolutely could not put it down, Dot. I'd heard about the new book but I haven't read Ralph's Party (the original) yet so must look out for it and make sure I read it before April. It's so good having all these things to look forward to, isn't it?

  3. Lisa Jewell is one of my favourite authors. Vince and Joy is definitely worth a read :)

  4. Oh just realised you have already read it!!