- Author: B.A. Spicer
- Published: August 2016 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Category: Drama, Contemporary Fiction
Jessica Morley is on her way to meet with a man she hasn’t seen for fifteen years. In her bag there is a package she must deliver. As she travels south, she remembers Jack Banford, a boy who captured her imagination as a child and made her believe in a future that could never happen. Now it is time for her to set the record straight and finally put the past behind her. ‘What I Did Not Say’ is a story of loyalty, cruelty and love at all costs.
Divided into three parts, What I Did Not Say is a complex, dramatic story of emotional turmoil and friendships told from the perspectives of several characters, so each interpretation and understanding of events differs according to personal viewpoints. Part one is the longest section beginning with Jess looking back on her close friendship with Jack Banford and giving an indication of some serious happening in the past.
Each chapter, told from the point of view of a specific individual sets up the connections between the characters. Pre teens Jess and Jack have been best friends since starting school and spend most of their leisure time together, although they don’t share innermost thoughts and feelings. Jess is overweight and insecure in herself, Jack, loving his mother, Vera, coping as well as he can with her illness and the fluctuating hope and foreboding. Melissa, the social worker whose attention was brought to the situation by an anonymous call from a neighbour. And Terry Pickup, an old and dear friend of Vera’s recently come back into her life, who also befriended Jack.
I drove slowly, weighing up the situation. Jack Banford. What a curious child. And I had met a few. Living on the Clees Hill estate with a mother who was practically an invalid, and yet doing a good enough job of holding everything together. No problems at school. He wasn’t a genius or anything, but he was keeping up. At home, he could look after himself and his mother well enough, and had a strong friendship with a girl from the other side of town who could only be an influence for the good. The boy loved to read, too, a book every couple of days! Mostly detective stories or crime. He was kind, considerate, placid, and funny, when you got to know him. What haunted me, though, was the underlying stillness of his expression that told me he was waiting for the thing he dreaded most to happen.
I couldn’t imagine where the story was going at first but I was soon engrossed, wanting to know what was going to happen. The personalities are described extremely well, giving a good sense of, and realistic feel to, the characters – Jess and Jack especially. Jack is intriguing and compelling, I could see why Jess felt the way she did.
The first section allows the players, their stories and the dynamics between them to unfold. The second part was totally unexpected, a complete surprise and filled with tension. I wasn’t sure who to believe but leaned towards Jess. The conclusion takes place years later from Jess’ point of view. She needs to make amends and continue her life without the past hanging over her.
Expressive and moving writing shows the devastating consequences of things not said and unquestioning loyalty. And how easily bonds can be damaged and broken when there’s a lack of communication and tolerance, the effect that can have on people’s lives.
I chose to read and review What I Did Not Say based on a copy of the book supplied by the author/publisher.
About B.A. Spicer
Bev Spicer has been writing full-time for six years, from her crumbly Charentaise house in France. In a past life she gained a degree in English and French Literature (Keele University) and a PGCE in English methods (Queens’ College, Cambridge).
She has lived in Bridgnorth, Cambridge, Rethymnon (Crete), Mahe (Seychelles), and now lives in Charente Maritime with her husband and youngest son. The next place she wants to explore is probably Spain. Her husband is very tolerant, and secretly enjoys chaos.
Bev has been a teacher, blackjack dealer for Playboy, examiner for Cambridge ESOL, secretary (various sorts – most boringly ‘legal’), lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, and a Sunday checkout girl for Tesco (who allowed her to deliver surplus bakery products to the homeless – ‘every little helps’).
She loves people, reading, writing, speaking French, astronomy (quantum theory addict), gardening, travelling, and hates housework, cooking, drizzle and honey.
Bev publishes under the name Bev Spicer for her lighter books and B. A. Spicer for more literary work.