I won a radio competition to attend a Book Club to review this book. A group of ten women from diverse backgrounds met to discuss it and discovered that the characters, plots and sub-plots within this book stuck a chord with each one of us in different ways. We had the opportunity to spend time with the author and ask questions about her inspiration, writing habits, family and settings for the book. She was gracious and forthcoming and happily signed our copies and posed for photos with us all. It was one of the best days I’ve had in a long time.
Why “Walking on Trampolines”? We didn’t even have to ask this question of her because we all managed to work it out for ourselves. Have you tried walking on a trampoline? It gives way under your feet and puts you off-balance. It is difficult to stay stable and you find yourself bouncing on occasion. Life is exactly the same. Circumstances make us unstable and walking true and straight becomes awkward at times. As it was with the characters in this book. Every person at the book club could identify with at least one of the characters. Each character was flawed in some way.
The book follows the friendship of two young girls from school to adulthood. Tallulah (or Lulu) and Annabelle are opposites. Lulu is studious, kind and doesn’t lead a very exciting life. Annabelle is the daughter of artists and is flamboyant and outgoing and not afraid to do what she wants. However both girls have mothers that are anything but ordinary. Lulu’s mother has a mental illness. Rose (who has named all of her dresses) is loved and adored by her family who close ranks around her whenever she is going through a bad patch. Lulu and her father raise her two younger brothers and shield them from the worst of Rose’s episodes. Annabelle’s mother is narcissistic and her father is a secret drinker and suffers depression. Other characters include Josh (Lulu’s boyfriend who becomes Annabelle’s husband), Duncan (a flamboyant and flawed radio presenter), Stella (school friend of both Annabelle and Lulu), Simone (another school friend who ‘came out’ after she left school) and Barney (the wolf dog who is my favourite character of the lot).
I would recommend this book for the way that it shows how different (yet the same) we all are and how it deals with the subject of mental illness. My favourite line in the whole book is when Frank (Annabelle’s father) has disappeared after his wife has left him. Lulu works out where he is and takes her mother Rose (the one with the mental illness) with her to find him. When they do, he looks at Rose and says “Ah, a fellow traveller” and goes with her. He recognises that she will understand what he is feeling and knows that she won’t lecture or tell him he is being silly. He knows she will have empathy.
I love that line. ‘A fellow traveller’ is who I am and many of you who follow this blog are. We are all fellow travellers on this journey to wellness. I told Frances (the author) that this was my favourite line and she replied that it is hers as well. She was so happy that I had known what she intended by writing it. I’m just happy to be a fellow traveller with all of you. 🙂
Have a beautiful day