Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin
In Sugar and Snails, Anne Goodwin has written a complex and intriguing book which really makes you think about issues around identity. Diane Dodsworth, the central character, is well drawn and complicated. We learn early on that she harbours a secret and that she has self- harmed since adolescence. A quiet, withdrawn person, she keeps most people at arm's length.We come to know the significant people in her life and gradually understand more about them.
I enjoyed the clever way the story was structured. Written in the first person, there are different strands of the narrative as it changes between the present day and different earlier periods in Diana's life. This novel certainly made me think. Not wanting to let slip any spoilers, I won't comment on the story in more detail. Suffice it to say, I had not guessed Diana's secret and I then enjoyed thinking back to earlier sections of the book with more insight.
I particularly enjoyed the way that the author's psychology background shone through, at times with humour. Empathy for Diana is built up as she tries to come to terms with how she feels about herself and about decisions which she has made. The book examines ideas about identity, how others see us and self- image with a deft touch.
In short: a poignant, challenging and ultimately enlightening read
Thanks to the author, Anne Goodwin for an e copy of the book. If you want to find out more about Anne, her website can be found here.