Welcome to my review of Attend by West Camel, as you may all be aware I am a huge fan of Orenda published books, in which Attend is. West Camel is both a writer and editor of Orenda, Attend being his debut novel. What a debut it was!
Sometimes as a reader, you come across book that just bores the living daylights of you but then you come across literary diamonds like Attend that are written so beautifully and you don’t know when it happened but it speaks to your heart.
Available now in paperback and e-book format, you can purchase here!
“When Sam falls in love with South London thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah.
Seamstress, sailor, story-teller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, the mysterious world that lies beneath their feet and, ultimately, the solution to their crises.
With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerizingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.
As the threads of their lives unravel … they find magic under their feet…”
What I Thought
Attend left me emotional, grieving for the characters due to the end of the book (this is not a spoiler, I just wasn’t emotionally ready for the book to finish!) I told West Camel that I was not ready to forgive him because of the beautiful rollercoaster he took me on that left be book hungover, but I am now a fangirl and will no longer expect my feeling to be safe in the hands of his books.
We are firstly introduced to Anne, one of the three main characters of Attend and oh my heart. My initial feeling of Anne is that she’s made huge mistakes in the past that her family and friends just will not let her runaway from. She’s treated like a nuisance, a bad woman but I think she just wants a chance to redeem herself, although no-one has enough faith in her. Anne’s loneliness and need for acceptance radiated of the page.
Sam is what I imagine to be a mid – 20’s guy whose own life experiences has lead him to become addicted to sex, with any man he can find, in any settling. Again, their is a radiance of lack of self – worth and loneliness coming from him. He too yearns for someone who can understand him and love him for who he is.
In walks Deborah, a strange woman whom no – one ever seems to notice, she’s just part of the scenery which can be ignored. That is until one day she is noticed, and my did I love her. I thought of her as a wacky type of Jeremy Cricket with a heart of solid gold. Again, she’s not had the best start in life, and it is so sad! I very rarely find a book where I fall in love with every main character, but my gosh I was head over heals for all three of them. The development of each character as well as the way that the storyline flicked between them, future and past, was flawlessly carried out. I was completely engaged.
The magic of books is that everyone who reads sometimes finds bits of themselves, or feel changed somewhat due to the words on those pages. For me, Attend felt like a euphemism for something bigger, like with a big entanglement of various wools; each different colour wool is an individual’s life and no amount of picking and unknotting with untangle it. Just like life whether we know it or not, we are all tied together with no clear start or finish. You can’t give a clear uncomplicated description of your life without tying in with the thread of others. You can agree with me or not; this is what the book meant to me and as reader’s I think we all have different outlooks on a book, well that was mine.
I love to read the acknowledgements, West states that Attend has had a long gestation period but my gosh the book that has come out of it is astonishingly brilliant. For me it was uplifting (regardless of tears shed) and thought provoking. I also raged a bit about the way that Anne was treated, she didn’t deserve it! Just wanted to hug her! (Yes, yes she isn’t real I know) It’s not all emotional though, West has managed to throw in a sprinkle of magic and a dash of humour which brings out the true shine of this novel.
Attend is a book that I will be shouting about for a long time to come. I recommend this 100%. Thank-you West Camel for writing Attend and sharing it with us readers!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Attend if you’ve read it! How did it make you feel? Let me know in the comment section! Thank-you again for reading my review!