This book was published in the US as The ABCs of Love. Whatever the name, it’s not an easy book to describe. It’s written in an almost diary format, but the entries are alphabetically arranged. So, we have a few thoughts on Ambition, Ants and Attitude, before moving on to Baked Beans, Best Friends.. etc. In this way, Verity tells her story. It sounds odd, but it works.
We find out a little about her past, her feelings about her best friend’s affair with a married man, then also Verity’s own love affair, also with a married man.
On the surface, this appears to be your usual ‘chick lit’ type book, just told in an unusual way. However, Sarah’s skill is the way she writes her narrator.. she has captured a rather naive, easily-lead young girl, along with all her thoughts and feelings. It can be read as a rather straight-forward little tale, or if you look for it, you will find a lot more told between the lines. It’s a book that will make you smile, then make you think.
Leading the Dance is a collection of short stories, bound together by the concept of secrets within everyday life. Sarah manges to write colourful characters, and fascinating tales, all presented within a few pages, something that I believe takes great writing skill.
Some of my personal highlights include a woman who has a portrait done of the contents of her fridge, which seems amusing, but deals with bulimia; a wife who secretly follows her husband’s affair via his emails; a touching tale of two sisters and their loneliness; a boy who has been taught to ignore his mother’s afternoon visitors; and especially the woman who locks another woman in her basement!
I can honestly say that not one tale within this collection disappointed, and I’m sure everyone will find their own personal favourite. Despite being very short, each one seems to have depth, and I will certainly be going back to read them again.
I very much enjoyed Sarah’s voice, and the way she writes, and I will be actively hunting more of her work.