Book Title: Come To The Edge
Author: Joanna Kavenna
Publisher: Quercus 2013
Source: The library, my good friend
Page Count: 295
Genre: Emotional Humour, with thrilling elements.
Audience: Adults, maybe YAs
Summed up in one word: Revolutionary!
Summary Of The Story:
BEWARE THE THUNDERBOX!
In 'Come To The Edge' we follow an unnamed woman who up until her husband left her had been happy in their perfected but 'perverted' way of life. She had it all, a nice house, kitchen appliances, an office job, a TV and even a bath. But when her other half leaves her for a younger women as she apparently cannot bear children for him, the narrator of this story answers a wanted ad to help a 'Cassandra White' on her farm and takes her leave up to the north of England.
It is here that our lead character suffers at the hands of Cassandra White, a tough as old boots widow who runs White farm on her own, does not trust the government or much else and definitely does not eat grain. Cassandra White is a woman on a mission, she is loud, judgemental, hard working and takes no prisoners, her husband is long gone and her kids have grown up and left, so it is just her, her cow and the ThunderBox.
White Farm is in a beautiful valley, once a farming community, the rich have bought up the land and placed expensive property on it that they do not use, just another 'must have' of the wealthy. This sort of thing does not sit well with Cassandra White and she makes it well known. The two women butt heads on most things when they first meet, things including sugar, hygiene, bathroom conditions, heating, butchery, alcohol, caffeine and practically every other comfort that we all enjoy day to day.
This soon comes to a stop when the ladies find out another poor elderly couple have been turfed out of their house due to rising costs and made to move into more suitable housing. This has been happening all over the valley and this is where Cassandra White has decided that it is coming to an end. The women and practically the whole valley get embroiled in a thin-as-ice scheme to re-home the poor and elderly in the unused mansions that litter the land. Chaos ensues...
Come To The Edge is predominately a funny book, though there are some harder themes running through it. The humour comes with the narrator and her classic outlook on life, her creature comforts, her not wanting to go to the bathroom in a whole in the ground, her trusting people and their decisions and her wanting to be warm. The other humorous element is definitely Cassandra White, abrasive, no-nonsense and completely self sufficient. The pair work well together and there is some great comedic material within these pages.
I think viewing Cassandra White from the outside was a great decision, viewing her from another's perspective really accentuated the crazy but also did her character a lot of justice as her way of life compared to the other woman's made her come across as a special breed of person, one you don't get to see very often these days. The other character had her moments but mainly she is the complainer, fighting a new way of life, fighting her inner voice telling her to just run away and mainly to document the scheme devised by Cassandra.
The story itself is well written, it develops nicely over time, it stays interesting and great characters occupy its walls. I felt the tone changes were a bit intense and shifted the weight of the book uncomfortably here and there but its not enough to break the lovely rhythm that JK manages to weave here. The ending for me did not match the pace of the book, the last 50 odd pages went from about a steady 40mph to 100mph and the events that take place when it is going that fast are a little over the top. It is not that the actions of the characters don't make sense, they fit the personalities perfectly, it is just the degree of craziness that really does not compute, but its fiction so there is room for plenty of craziness.
Overall I believe it is absolutely worth a read, it is an insight into an older way of life, it may get you off the couch and growing a few of own vegetables and sneaking your grandparents into that house down the road that is always empty, CTTE is a fast paced, easy read, that will have you laughing, wondering, revolting and saying...was that really necessary.
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