My Daughter, My Mother by Annie Murray is a nostalgic trip down memory lane for me as the novel is set in 1984 Birmingham following two mothers and their daughters. This familiar landscape meant I ‘walked’ through the action being very familiar with the locations mentioned.
Hardships growing up meant the mothers had their secrets. Some things are just too horrible to talk about. One mother was a five year old evacuee in 1939, she suffered and hid her suffering inside. The other mother witnessed partition in India in 1947. So deep were the scars that silence was kept for years.
There is the difficult theme of domestic and child abuse. The victims kept silent controlled by fear and shame. Abuse is never the victims fault and they must seek help and not suffer in silence.
Prescription drugs can be addictive. Valium was widely prescribed in the 1960’s and 70’s. I empathised with the daughter whose mother was hooked on valium as my Mom too, had this drug prescribed when I was in my teens. I have seen firsthand the effects.
A name change is significant as it shows a character change. It is sad to witness a name left behind as the character is no longer happy.
There are all sorts of marriages – arranged, love, convenience, escape. For some, marriage is happy, for others it’s tolerated and for others it is dangerous and they must escape. The reader witnesses the hard life in a women’s refuge.
The novel has many topical references from 1984. I remembered the events mentioned and the horrifying news reports.
I really enjoyed my trip down memory lane to 1984 Birmingham. Annie Murray is now a new addition to my ‘must read’ authors.