A great read has just been published. A debut novel for Mary Grehan, Love is the Easy Bit is well written, interesting, multi-layered and ultimately a love story - albeit that of learning to love. Addressing the taboo subject of a mother who admits to herself that she has never loved her child and feels that she has never been a good mother, this novel is real in its story telling and sometimes frightening in its honesty.
The primary relationship in this family is between Sylvia's daughter Kate and her father. Loving and normal, this feeling is alien to Sylvia for reasons that are explored as the story develops. Never unrealistic or over dramatic in its exploration of the psychology of Sylvia's need to explore her life and its past, this novel brings up the subject of what we give up when we move into different stages of our life and how some people are more ready for this forward progression than others.
"Get on with it" and "move on" are phrases easily showered upon those who are held back by the memory of past missed opportunities or seem unable to cope with what is considered to be a natural act. But motherhood is not easy or for some instinctive. Addressing post-natal depression without ever naming it, the acceptance by Sylvia that this was what she was actually experiencing is slowly revealed as she examines her life through the eyes of her sister and mother. Through this exploration more family secrets are revealed and aspects of Sylvia's life that she had chosen to shut off rather than accept exactly what they meant
As Mary Grehan's first novel this is a fine accomplishment. Stylish writing and an intelligent story keeps the reader interested throughout. To feel sympathy for a main protagonist who is ultimately presented as flawed is a show of a skilled story teller and Grehan's name is one to be looking out for in the future.
Love is the Easy Bit is published by Penguin Ireland www.penguin.com