All I Ever Wanted by Lucy Dillon is a contemporary novel about families and love and loss. It was a study into a family that was falling apart and a study of grief. It was poignantly written and I got totally caught up in the lives of the characters.
Lucy Dillon has created a wonderful set of characters. All unique and with both good points and character flaws, making them easy to empathise with and realistic. The two children were delightful, with their mannerisms that shot straight to my heart. I wanted to mother them both. With their parents marriage falling apart, Lucy Dillon perfectly captured the emotions of the children both through what they did and didn’t do. The emotional trauma tugged at this reader’s heartstrings.
Included in the story were two lovable pugs – Bumble and Bee. They had their own character traits which I found enchanting. The ability of dogs to bond and heal emotional trauma was a beautiful thing to see.
The interactions between characters were realistic and believable and easy to empathise with. As new bonds were formed, it was wonderful to observe them unfold. The mindset of the children and the bonds they formed were beautiful. Lucy Dillon perfectly captured both a four and ten year old.
There was the theme of nature versus nurture. Children can pick up character traits from those closest to them. They are also born repeating some of the family traits at times.
The novel dealt with memories. “It’s hard knowing that you are competing with the past and losing.” Memories are found in people, places and objects. Memories should warm us but not return us to a past that is just that, past.
The study of grief was raw at times. “It was their future that she grieved for.” Our futures take a diversion when someone close dies. Our hopes and dreams may die too, as we need to find new hopes and dreams.
Identity was a theme within the book. “She wasn’t sure who she was now.” If our identity is tied to our role – wife, daughter, mother – we may need to discover who we really are.
Parents are important. Our style of parenting may be based on our childhood experiences for both good and bad. Our experiences may be seen through rose tinted spectacles or we may have been protected in bad times. No matter how old our children are, we never stop trying to protect them. “It doesn’t matter how old you get… I’m never going to stop wanting to make the bad things go away.” Likewise we are never so old that we don’t want our Mum to make things better.
All I Ever Wanted was an epic relational read producing a roller coaster of emotions. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to more by Lucy Dillon.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.