Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: February 14th 2012
Pages: 464
Book Source: Random House Children's Books & NetGalley

Synopsis: When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all ... Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family's deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own - one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all ... 

My Thoughts: 
"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive" a quote from Sir Walter Scott that popped into my head many times while reading Someone Else's Life.  It's a complex story that has you thinking about what defines a family; genetics or love? Ethical and moral choices, grief, lies, secrets, anger, guilt; this is one tumultuous ride.

As the synopsis reveals Rosie has just lost her mother Trudie to the debilitating, incurable Huntington's disease. As her mother's primary care-giver, Rosie has watched Huntington's ravage Trudie's body and mind. She now faces the fear and uncertainty that comes with a 50% chance of inheriting Huntington's Disease herself. That is, until a long kept secret is revealed and Rosie learns she has no chance of inheriting Huntingtons.

I was aware of Huntington's Disease before picking up this book, the synopsis the impetus for requesting it. Whilst I was nursing, a friend's father was diagnosed with Huntington's, she was just a few years older than Rosie. 

From the little time I had watching a friend deal with this nightmare (she moved away and we lost touch) I can say author Katie Dale 'does' emotion with heartfelt authenticity. Rosie, Andy, Holly, Jack, Josh & Kitty are more than paper cut-outs, they're flawed characters, at times selfish, stupid and impulsive, they have tempers but they're also capable of love, forgiveness and support. Nana was probably my favourite and I just can't resist sharing some 'nana wisdom.'

Worry is like a rocking chair - it keeps you busy but gets you nowhere. 

Someone Else's Life had so much going on, so many twists and turns, in a but wait there's more kind of way ... and more and ...  Yes it kept me turning the pages but it did get a bit much. I can handle reality taking a sidestep towards the melodramatic but not a detour into soap opera-ish land.
I'm sure keeping things a little more real would have put Someone Else's Life on my favourite read list. Still ... lots to like and I'll definitely be reading more from this author. 

So, would you want to know? With a 50/50 chance of a negative result and a positive outcome, would you want the uncertainty erased? 

Visit Katie Dale's website to find out more about this author and her work.


  1. sounds like a book I could like =)

    1. Hope you pick it up, I haven't seen too many reviews for it Mai Lene

  2. 50%...I do not think I could handle it, then again I would spend all my time thinking about it if I did not take a test

    1. I think I'd want to know B cause I wouldn't be able to stop thinking about it!

  3. raised some great questions and all the more reason to read this one!

    1. This was a hard one to review, I liked it even though I had some problems with it :)

  4. I am a major worrier so I'd definitely want to know. This sounds like a good book even if it does veer off into melodrama. I'll have to put this on my TBR list if it isn't already there on Goodreads. Thanks for your review!

  5. I'm the same Christina so just getting on with life wouldn't be an option for me without knowing :)


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