review by Maryom
When 15 year old Charlotte is knocked down by a bus and ends up in hospital in a coma, her mother Sue is convinced it cannot have been the tragic accident that everyone else claims. Reading through her daughter's diary, Sue finds an entry that she's sure supports this. She feels that if she can find out WHY Charlotte took the dreadful action she did, she can be convinced that everything is safe now and come out of her coma. She discovers that she really had very little idea about her daughter's life - what she was doing when out in the evening or who her friends were - but also that Sue's own past, in the shape of an abusive, manipulative boyfriend, is catching up with her with devastating consequences.
The story is told in two alternating parts - the present day with Charlotte lying in a coma and Sue's diary from 20 years ago, so Sue's struggle to convince others that Charlotte is not a random accident victim is interleaved with her own story of a love affair rapidly turning sour. For a while there seems to be no connection between the two but gradually all is revealed...
While I found this a quick read, that I whizzed through to find out who did what and why, sadly it didn't really grab me. The characters all seemed a little too over the top to feel real and therefore for me to care about. Although there's a general consensus of opinion that parents have no
idea what their teenagers are getting up to, this too seemed taken to extremes - both Sue and her husband Brian seemed to have been
wilfully blind to their daughter's behaviour, letting her come and go at all hours without questioning where she'd been.
As the narrator, Sue seemed full of contradictions - maybe these were in
part down to her PTSD and paranoia, but she just didn't ring true. I never felt in any doubt that Sue was right - although she goes off at odd tangents, leaping to wrong conclusions on the slightest of evidence, her overall premise that something had caused Charlotte to step in front of the bus never seemed in doubt.
Maryom's review - 3 stars
Publisher - Harper Collins (Avon)
Genre - adult, psychological thriller
Buy THE ACCIDENT