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Saturdays at Noon by Rachel Marks

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | General Fiction

By Swirl and Thread

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‘One circle of strangers
Two people who’d rather be anywhere else
Three lives about to change for ever’

Saturdays at Noon is the debut novel from Rachel Marks and is published with Michael Joseph. Described as ‘funny and uplifting’ Saturdays at Noon is a story ‘about love, parenting, coming to terms with the past and learning that it is okay to be different’

What makes Saturdays at Noon extra special is the story behind it. Rachel Marks faced many difficulties and challenges when raising her eldest son. During her ongoing research she happened upon a condition known as Pathological Demand Avoidance, a disorder on the Autism Spectrum not widely understood or recognised. For Rachel Marks this was a light bulb moment. She was now finally able to explain and make sense of her son’s actions and reactions, she was able to better understand her son. The inspiration was there and the idea was born for Rachel Marks to write her first novel, her debut, Saturdays at Noon.

Emily and Jake meet at an anger management course. Jake is married to Jemma and is a stay-at-home Dad looking after their six-year old son, Alfie. Alfie is a difficult child and Jake is not coping. His marriage is shaky due to the stress on both himself and Jemma. Jemma works long hours, leaving most of the day-to-day stuff to Jake but Jake is seriously struggling. He loses his temper daily with Alfie and although his love for his son is very evident, he is at the end of his tether. In the hope of rescuing his relationship with Jemma, he attends an anger management course.

Emily is a tough nut. Brittle and constantly resentful, Emily is on the course for her own personal reasons. She does not want to communicate with the world and has very few relationships in her life. Emily had a very tough childhood and the impact of those early years is a constant weight on her small shoulders.

On the first day of the course Emily meets Alfie and there is a very special connection, a moment where something happens. As the weeks pass, Jake and Jemma’s relationship changes and Jake has to make some life-changing decisions, ones that have serious repercussions for Alfie.

Alfie is a frustrated child. He sees the world differently to everyone else. He lives in an alternative space that makes perfect sense to Alfie but when others don’t agree with his decisions he is unable to control his behaviour and his actions become quite aggressive and destructive. Jake is at his wits end and soon realises that Alfie comes alive when Emily is around. Emily doesn’t shout at Alfie, she has an endless supply of patience around him. She listens to him, she likes him, she ‘gets’ him.

Saturdays at Noon follows the developing relationship between Emily, Jake and Alfie. There are some moments of magic and some of sadness but what shines through is love. There are so many important messages interwoven throughout this tale, in particular the message about learning to love others and yourself again, about self-esteem and about giving yourself the respect you deserve. The value of friendship is beautifully portrayed as Rachel Marks writes with a very perceptive hand, capturing some wonderful moments and giving great life to all her characters.

It really is difficult to comprehend that Saturdays at Noon is a debut. The writing captures the reader immediately as Rachel Marks’ own personal experience brings such an authentic flair to Alfie’s story.

Saturdays at Noon will win your heart. It is a very special book, an important book, one that will most definitely make you stop and think.

Saturdays at Noon is a very emotional and thought-provoking book with a powerful message at it’s core. An affecting tale. A very impressive debut. Not to be missed folks!

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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