Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Spare Room by Helen Garner

The Spare Room by Helen Garner

Helen has little idea what lies ahead when she offers her spare room to an old friend of fifteen years. Nicola has arrived in the city for treatment for cancer. Sceptical of the medical establishment, placing all her faith in an alternative health centre, Nicola is determined to find her own way to deal with her illness, regardless of the advice that Helen can offer. In the weeks that follow, Nicola's battle against her cancer will turn not only her own life upside down but also those of everyone around her. "The Spare Room" is a magical gem of a book that packs a huge punch, charting a friendship as it is tested by the threat of death.

I read this in practically one sitting, only 175 pages long so it didn't take too long to read. I really enjoyed it. Was really glad I found this in a bookshop, in their sale bin, for 24p!

Nicola and Helen have know each other for years, so when Nicola asks to come stay while she has some alternative therapy to combat her cancer, Helen is happy to say yes. She does up the spare room for her friend. What you find in the book is a strained relationship. They love each other, but Nicola's attitude towards the treatment starts to really bug Helen. Helen does no believe the treatment will work, and thinks it's all a sham, which is why she keeps her mouth shut, and tries to be there for her friend.

I can not imagine being in this situation, but I can imagine believing anything will work, to get rid of the nasty illness that is killing you.

I really felt for Nicola, especially during the last few chapters after the argument/raised voices with her, Helen and Nicolas niece.

I thought the book described feelings very well indeed. I could truly feel everything Helen went through, changing sheets, making beds, bathing her friend, and everything else she had to do. But it's what you would do isn't it? I like to think if I was in that position I would do it.

Good book, lovely story, sad in places, funny in others.

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