Tag: Jan

Goodbye Lullaby by Jan Murray

Posted November 6, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction / 0 Comments

Goodbye Lullaby by Jan MurrayTitle: Goodbye Lullaby (Goodreads)
Author: Jan Murray
Published: Hachette, 2012
Pages: 320
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: Book Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Goodbye Lullaby tells the story of Miki, a sixteen year old who finds herself pregnant, who at the advice of her best friend, Jade, decides to raise her baby. Two decades later, Miki is an anti-war activist on the run trying to avoid the federal police and protect her son from the conscription lottery. When Jade comes back into Miki’s life they will stop at nothing to try and save her son going to war.

This is a multi-layered story, full of very real issues ranging from religion, parenthood, friendship, war and so much more. This novel is written in two different perspectives, life as a sixteen year old in the 1950’s and then being a parent during the Vietnam War. While this seems to work pretty well in this book, I think there were elements that didn’t work. I felt like author Jan Murray wanted to convey too many issues, instead of just a few. This resulted in a glossing over effect with some of the story and no real focus with the most serious issues in the novel.

I really enjoyed the coming of age style of Miki and Jade’s life in the 1950’s; at times it felt very much like trying to be Puberty Blues and at other times it was trying to make a thoughtful plot; but I found a little hard to tell if the author wanted me to have fun reading this or take it seriously. The other narrative didn’t seem to have that same issue, it felt very serious and often bordering into a very dry plot. The constant switching between the two narratives help avoid making this a boring read but it felt too clunky switching between the two.

I did enjoy young Miki and Jade; they were wonderful characters, full of life, mischief and big dreams, but what happened to them when they grew up? It felt like they grew into one dimensional characters; I never really felt like they were the same people, just completely new. As adults they had real issues to deal with but getting pregnant at sixteen is a big issue and that didn’t stop them from being larger than life, so I’m not sure what happened in the twenty years between but I’m a little curious to know what shrunk them back to size.

Overall this was a feel good cosy read, which tries to hit on some important issues but if you gloss over that you just have a light frivolous novel. The writing really wasn’t the best, I think the author loved saying each character’s names; because she does it a lot. But as a whole this book was enjoyable to read without holding any real depth. For someone looking for a summer read about a woman and her love for her son, maybe give this book a go.