I finally, finally finished re-reading The Spider Truces by Tom Connolly, and I’m aware that makes it sound like it was an ordeal rather than an enjoyable experience but it wasn’t that at all, I’ve just been so busy that I’ve had to read it in the way “normal” people read books- a chapter at the end of each day, rather than the way I usually do- which is to blaze through from cover to cover ignoring all else around me. It certainly makes for a different reading experience taking your time, but last night, with a few chapters to go before the end, I hooked myself up to my SCIG infusion and just went for it, and I’m glad I did because I now have that lingering sense of *something* you get after finishing a really great book- where you feel like you were actually there, and experienced it, and your brain is busy processing and filing it all away.
This was my second time reading it, the first time I read it on Kindle after picking up at a reduced price when it was on a deal. It was the summer of 2013, so I started reading it as a ‘well’ person and finished reading it in a hospital bed. I read this just before I got really REALLY unwell and before I threw myself into the YA fantasy genre so hard I’m surprised I didn’t end up going through the barrier to Platform 9 3/4 😉
But The Spider Truces itself, despite probably being shelved as Literary Fiction, was it’s own form of fantasy and escapism for me, as it describes in almost succulent detail the places in which the story takes place, and for someone who was very much stuck in one specific and rather clinical (if not downright miserable) place, to be transported so effortlessly to the the Kentish Weald, to watch the changing seasons and years go by. Then later, to follow the characters to Paris, a place that I want so desperately to visit, but keep being thwarted in my attempts to, was just the icing on the cake.
This book is wonderful not just because of the places, but also the people. There’s Ellis, the main character, who we see grow from a young boy to a young man, and his Dad Denny, his sister Chrissie and his Great Aunt Mafi, all of who I could relate to in different ways, but it was Ellis who stood out for me, and who’s thoughts mirrored so many of my own. The sudden unexpected panic that can land in the middle of a perfectly ordinary day or thought, as though from nowhere. The sense of restlessness but the constant pull of the past. The author Tom Connolly really captured all these things in a way that made me believe not just that Ellis was real, but that he was me, or rather I was him. So it’s hardly a wonder that I laughed out loud at times or shed more than one tear as I followed him through the years of his life.
I don’t want to give too much away but for those wondering about the title, yes the book is about spiders, and Ellis’s relationship with them, which begins as pure terror but evolves to something more over the years. It is also about grief, family, friendships, and figuring out what life is all about- or realising you never will.
My absolute favourite line from the book is
“A wonderful life of chaos and hope and disarray awaits all those prepared to risk it”
The kind of quote that is profound in it’s simplicity, much like the book itself.
So go! Read it now!
As for me, I am seriously behind on my list but the next book is something totally different: Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist which should have been August’s re-read, but is probably more appropriate for this time of year anyway what with Halloween being NEXT WEEK and all 🙂