Published: Freight Books, 2016
My Rating: 3.5/5
‘She moved to the sofa and wiped her tears with the end of her sleeve, scratchy against her face. The vinegary smell from the fish supper Mike had reeled home with spiked the back of her nose. She bundled it up and hurled it across the room. In the afternoon she walked round the park. Sometimes she’d found coins in the gutter, but not today. Listing all the people she knew, she realised she already owed them money, or she’d been too mortified to ask.’ – p.33
Any twenty-something will know that these years can be some of the most tumultuous years of any. What is our place in the world? Which relationships are worth the fight, and – to an even greater extent – what bridges do we burn? Well, in WALKING THE LIGHTS, Deborah Andrews explores just that.
WALKING THE LIGHTS follows Maddie, a young aspiring actress, through nineties Scotland as she tries to make her passion into a career. Through the use of Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST, Maddie navigates her way through some of the toughest decisions she will ever have to make.
A book like Andrews’ is a hidden treasure. Excited and sceptical as I picked it up, WAKING THE LIGHTS taught me more than I initially gave it credit for.
One of my favourite things about this novel was its commentary on relationships. Maddie and her relationship with her boyfriend Mike is possibly the most emotional aspects of this book. Andrews perfectly encapsulates a decision all too familiar for many twenty-something’s – is the person I love the person I need?
Maddie also struggles with her familial relationships and how her past is effecting her today. As the readers, we see Maddie try to understand her mother’s former decisions. To avoid any spoilers, all I will say on this aspect of the book is…go read it (please)!
Finally, the inclusion of acting is vital for WALKING THE LIGHTS. For something that is generally regarded as “fake” or “pretend”, this proves to be the one true and honest things for Maddie. Acting is the only way she reveals herself and quickly becomes the best way for the characters and us – the readers – to get to know her.
WALKING THE LIGHTS is an impressive insight into the life of an actor. Even more, it proves itself to be a pivotal life-journey novel – one that this blogger recommends!