To me Blood Family felt like a totally different Anne Fine from what I’ve read before. Which, I admit, is not nearly enough. It is well written, and draws you in from the beginning, which is good, since the topic is definitely among my least favourite ones.
Damaged family, abuse, small child living in dreadful conditions. That’s just the beginning, and then things change for Eddie. You hope it will be for the better. But you can tell there will be something. It’s just hard to guess which something.
The story is told from the perspective of today, so you know that the something has happened, but you can’t be sure if it has been sorted by now. It’s also told in the first person by everyone connected with Eddie’s life. Well, almost everyone. Two major players have no input at all. But the rest are all there; the nosy neighbour, the social worker, the dentist, the foster carers, and so on.
But mostly it is Eddie himself who tells the story of his life, and he can remember everything. But he can’t understand where he went wrong, or what he could have done about it. Then maybe none of us do. It’s called life.
I missed Anne Fine’s usual humour. It’s there in Mr Perkins, but apart from him this is a grim story. More so for the fact that everything could have gone well, after it had first gone so badly. The people are nice. There is no lack of money. Even the caring services are really pretty caring.
This is less about the importance of blood families, and more about how things can go right – or wrong – for anyone, at any time.
It’s worth remembering. Things can easily go right. Things don’t have to be all disastrous and wrong. No matter what kind of start to life you had, it can become good. Or I hope it can.