Book Review: Some Kind Of Fairytale by Graham Joyce

I’m not really sure how I came about this book. I think it was one of Amazon’s recommended for you’s, had a great price for a hardback copy (which I’m known to love) and featured fairies. Anyway, buy it I did and then shelved it and forgot about about it for a few months (I’m ashamed, it’s a problem when you have far too many books arrive on your doorstep every week).

 Then over Christmas, feeling like something Christmassy, I remembered about it and hunted it out. While it ended up being not at all Christmassy, aside from the fact that it starts on Christmas day, I did enjoy it. It was different, and I liked that.

 Tara Martin disappeared without trace from her sleepy English village aged Sixteen. Twenty years later, she turns up on Christmas Day thinking only six months had passed. Her older brother Peter knows something is really not right and is determined to get to the bottom of it. But Tara’s explanation is more than anyone can understand or accept.

 When I started this book, I expected it to be very fantastical. I know fairies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I quite like them and find the mythology and folklore behind them fascinating. Some Kind Of Fairytale surprised me by being very much grounded in reality, and it was the family and friends of Tara’s relationships that interested me more.

 Yes, there is alternating chapters of Tara’s life during her disappearance and yes, it can be assumed she’s with fairies, although she refuses to call them that. But even these chapters aren’t as I expected. The ‘fairies’ are more like a hippy commune with only the suggestion of something more magical, and even then you could wonder if Tara was just on drugs. The ‘fairy’ world is both subtle and in your face and I was never quite sure whether I should believe in it or not. I think that’s the response the author intends, and  by the end I still didn’t know.

 The main story of this book though is the people who were left behind, specifically her brother Peter and boyfriend Richie. I thought the relationship between the two men was really, really touching. Both deeply affected by Tara’s disappearance, the book made me think a lot about fate, how lives could be different ‘if only’…especially in Richie’s case.  Tara’s character and story really only serves to bring about their story, which is in fact very real and human.

 The books title is perfect for this story, it is some kind of fairytale-it even has a kind of happy-ever-after ending, even if it’s not the one you’re expecting. I was left confused a couple times and felt I’d possibly skimmed over vital information and clues in sections (the chapters narrated by Tara’s psychiatrist didn’t particularly hold my interest and I think I perhaps should have read them a little more carefully) Overall though, while  I wasn’t blown away by this book, I did like it enough to finish.

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