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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Catching Fallen Stars

When some years ago Queen Elizabeth remarked that “grief is the price we pay for love”, she did not merely popularise a truism but quoted the words of bereavement counsellor Dr Colin Murray Parkes, a psychiatrist based at St. Christopher’s Hospice, south London.

Now her grandsons, Princes William and Harry together with Princess Catherine have followed her lead by helping to launch the Heads Together mental health campaign that aims to remove the stigma associated with mental and emotional illness.

Dawn.LaJeunesseI reflected on this while reading Star Catching,** a novel by American Dawn Lajeunesse that describes how a family copes after three members are killed outright in a car crash and the sole surviving fourth is forced to live with her grandparents.

Her story, written in juxtaposed chapters from the alternate views of grandmother and granddaughter, is often most moving, Further, as Lajeunesse is a trained nurse, it is unsurprising that she writes the hospital and related medical scenes with accuracy and flair.

However, thin plotting, characterisation, repetitive dialogue and obvious textual padding, turn what could be an important contribution to the debate about mental and emotional welfare into something barely more than enjoyable chick lit.

** Star Catching is available from Amazon (Kindle $2.99, Paperback $11.99).

© Natalie Wood (19 January 2017)

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