Rose Remembered by Jennifer Button reminded me from page one of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt. As the novel begins, there is the same gritty feeling of life in the streets, life in poverty, and life without the most basic essentials. This is the life that confronts Rose from birth even if she is not immediately sentient enough to acknowledge it.
A reader can find a unifying theme of women taking power and assuming responsibility for their own life. This is not an in-your-face unsubstantiated rant about the innate superiority of women. It is several stories of women in unfortunate situations (mostly initiated by men) and how they survived the situations. While there are several stories of different women with bad situations, Rose, as the central character, suffers more than others. But she doesn’t suffer silently in an accepting matter. She gets revenge. She even keeps count as she reports “one, crash” and “two, crash.” She gets up to six “crashes.” Possible subsequent ones are up to reader interpretation.
For lovers of language, there is the frequent emergence of Cockney English. Jennifer Button makes a note of this before beginning the book in an excerpt titled “Cockney Copout.” Button points out that Cockney English, the feel and spirit of it, is difficult to render in written form. Rose uses the form to tell stories of her childhood years to Pandora. In later years Pandora asks Rose to retell her the same stories because she loves the way Rose reverts to Cockney English when narrating.
Published in November, 2016, this 41 chapter, 228 page book was available to me through the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program. I became aware of the book through an OnlineBookClub.org raffle in which Rose Remembered was the book of the day for 01 January, 2017.
The first six chapters of this novel make up a strong, gripping beginning. The last five chapters and the epilogue provide a strong, gripping ending. Between these two six-segment parts there is a well told story. I found this middle part a comfortable tale. I could put it down and still want to come back. But while reading the first and last six-part segments, I couldn’t put the book down.
I recommend this book for young adults and older. For the older crowd, there will be a nostalgic review of a post WWII lifestyle in England. For the younger crowd, this novel presents information as historical fiction; younger people might be motivated by the novel to research more detailed histories.