‘the distance between us’ By Maggie O’Farrell book review


‘the distance between us’ By Maggie O’Farrell  Copyright 2004 Genre Romance

The book is about two different people; living on opposite side of the world, one girl trying to move on from the past and one boy trying to find his roots. Throughout their lives they are thrown into unbearable situations that would make any human being question what would they do in their situation. It is a story about relationships and the bond they share whether it be family or friends or lovers.

My opinion of the central characters of the book, the girl Stella is the most stubborn woman born ever, no matter what others do she is like nope not having it. I felt for her during the fragile time between her sister. But other than that I wanted to slap her in the face and say wake up you doozy so so. The male character Jake is sweet but an idiot, but a sweetie pie none the less. His the type of lad who gets in trouble when really his done naff all wrong. I felt for him right from the start, the shit he had to put up with. He makes people question there moral standards for sure, but at the same time how many blokes travel the country for one girl.

Characters that I best relate to  Stella for wanting to escape her old life and Jake for wanting to find himself. I also felt sorry for him because he probably felt like he was banging his head against a wall most of the time.

Other interesting characters, I would probably say Mel as she is in a such a horrible place let her feelings out then later on you think its like blackmail. Mel’s dad a is character a posh, pushy arrogant bloke you want to hit as he presumes he knows how others are thinking.

The story is told by two people Stella and Jake. The story has flashbacks to the past which at first you are baffled as to why the story is bouncing around so much.

Were the characters and problems believable. Yes and no, the school bully their was no detail of the aftermath of how the teachers reacted. The Chinese new year accident was a bit vague, would have been nice to have known the total effect. There was a lot of being told what was happening not letting the story unravel itself. Also the ending most blokes would have given up, especially the modern man. No man now days would do that for a woman more likely to go down the pub  and drown there sorrows than do that.

How did the characters change Jake grew some balls to deal with his situation and Stella seemed not to change till the last page.  Question the book asks is that can love conquer all and don’t judge to conclusions, don’t presume the worst straight away. The question  is answered by Jake and Stella accepting their past mistakes . Did I learn anything from the book, not really as I am a soppy sod but probably to be less stubborn.

The book was different in that it wasn’t as saucy as I would have liked, nor was there a lot of seduction more just they like  each other. If anything it was like Jake had to use force to let Stella let her guard down.  I would have loved the book to end with a kiss coming from Stella, even know that is cliché it would have been nice. It did take a while to get into the book as it jumped around so much I was like oh and then trying to piece everything together. Time period is important as the subjects brought up would be to taboo back in the day and wouldn’t have happened anyways.  Alternative titles name ‘a tale from two sides’ is probably the best one I came up with.

Favorite quotes

‘You need to get your strength back, man. You look dreadful, like a fucking corpse’ Hing Tai page 88

The line just lightens the story up.

Favorite scene is when Nina Stella’s sister gets Jake drunk and high on weed. Then feels like an idiot when he realizes where he was supposed to be. And starts swearing at himself. I liked most that Stella did let her guard down and what I liked least was that she did so right at the end of the book.   The book could have ended better they should have been an embrace at least, Stella never seemed glad to see him always oh yeah its you should have known. I give this book a six out of ten for being a book that I seriously want the slap the characters heads together.

The cover represents the sisters which is a shame because it would have been nice for it to be Stella and Jake.


Author: Helen Ingram

Self Published author, artist, interviewer and owner of New Art United