Book – The Believers by Zoe Heller

After enjoying Notes on a Scandal, I undertook to read more of Miss Heller. I know for some time she was based in New York and wrote the ‘Letter from New York’ in the Sunday Times and that’s where this book from is based.

Indeed it was reading that column each week that got me into reading the Sunday Times regularly and making a decision on what time of writing I was going to do. I had no idea up until then, just that I wanted to end up (as in retire) writing but then I knew I wanted to write opinion and memoir pieces in the main.

If books are written from one’s personal experiences, I worry for Ms Heller!

The part comical story is centred on the mother, an absolute dragon who admits to not being all together maternal, despite giving birth to two daughters and adopting a young boy.

A well to do family, British mother married 40 years to an American father and living in Greenwich Village, bang up to date in post September 11th New York.

It’s quite a fascinating read about the mother daughter relationships and how those differ in that she is a doting mum to her adopted wayward, junkie, good for nothing son. It’s all wrapped in the parents’ radical ideals and how both daughters rebel from their principles. The title is about their changing lives and therefore opinions; what do they believe in now?

You’ll have the excuse the ‘F’ word – coming from the mother – but the writer goes to some lengths to explore the whole family and a supporting cast of hanger-ons.

So first Ms Zeller makes me realise what sort of writer I will become; can she make a novelist out of me yet?

Maybe.
7½/10 Inspiration factor 9½/10

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