Consent – Annabel Lyons

Published by: Atlantic Books
Pages: 224
Date released: 28/01/2021
Date read: 08/05/2021

Saskia and Jenny are twins alike in appearance only: Saskia is a grad student with a single-minded focus on her studies, while Jenny is glamorous, thrill-seeking, and capricious. Still, when Jenny is severely injured in an accident, Saskia puts her life on hold to be with her sister.

Sara and Mattie are sisters with another difficult dynamic. Mattie, who is younger, is intellectually disabled. Sara loves nothing more than fine wines, perfumes, and expensive clothing, and leaves home at the first opportunity. But when their mother dies, Sara inherits the duty of caring for her sister. She moves Mattie in with her – but it’s not long until tragedy strikes.

Now, both Sara and Saskia, having been caregivers for so long, find themselves on their own. Yet through a cascade of circumstances as devastating as they are unexpected, these two women will come together. Consent is a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities of familial duty, and of how love can become entangled with guilt, resentment, and regret.

I don’t know for sure how to review this book. It definitely wasn’t what I expected. For a book that’s just over 200 pages long, it took me a while to get my head into it. I assumed it would be a book about consent in the sexual nature – maybe that’s my fault for not reading up much about it – but apart from the odd mention of hanky panky, and extreme hanky panky at that, it really wasn’t. it was more about other types of consent: the consent of an adult with severe learning difficulties; the consent of a woman with locked-in syndrome; of people suffering from alcoholism or drug additions.

It’s a very interesting premise and does give you a lot of food for thought on topics you may not have ever given time for, and on topics you may not wish to ever think about.

I did feel, at times, it was being a bit too smart for its own good. Do you remember the episode of Friends when Joey has to write a letter to the adoption agency for Monica and Chandler, and in order to sound smart he changes every word he writes to the point that the letter no longer makes sense? That’s what I feel this book does. Whilst the book made sense, I just felt it was trying to be this really sophisticated book that was more philosophical than it was, and in forcing this, it just read a bit bizarre.

After a day or so to think about it, I think if someone asked me my opinion, I would definitely recommend they read it as I think it’s a very important subject. I just feel it could have been a bit more pleasurable to read.

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