Review Blog

Nov 18 2019

The Confession by Jessie Burton

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Picador, 2019. ISBN: 9781509886159.
(Age: Adult-Adolescent)The Confession is a story of mystery, love and loss, and of the roles that family and friendship play in our lives. Essentially, this narrative delves into the ideal of motherhood, family and love, but is also about the reality of life, of self-absorption, fear, loneliness, rejection and mystery. The choice of a puzzling lack of information within the narrative is pertinent to the enigmatic events and choices that the characters make, and reflects what Burton has constructed, in an absorbing and completely captivating narrative.
In the narrative that begins in 1980, Elise falls in love with Connie when they meet unexpectedly in the park in New York, and this meeting changes Elise's life. The second narrative, interwoven and connected to the first, and told in the first person, is the story of Elise's daughter, beginning in 2017, of her quest to find her mother who disappeared one day, leaving no trace, and who has never been found. The notion of mystery pervades the text, as we are similarly eager to discover the truth when we realize that we do not know the details of the enigma of the lost mother either. Structuring the story in two different eras, Burton begins in 1980 and interweaves the years subsequent to this period with the events of 2017 and beyond.
Well-written, richly descriptive and tantalizing in its complexity, and indeed in the description of the passing of the years, this narrative is a powerful expression of the way in which human interaction can be loving and supportive, while also suggesting that life can also be ruled by an individual's choices that are hurtful, self-absorbed or unexpectedly puzzling. Jessie Burton has written an evocative story, one that is well-constructed, powerful and interestingly complex. It is appropriate for both adult and adolescent readers.
Elizabeth Bondar

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