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Glass Houses

Jackie Buxton

Average Review Rating Average Rating 9/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Urbane Publications

Published : 2016

Copyright : Jackie Buxton 2016

ISBN-10 : PB 1-910692-84-0
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1-910692-84-4

Publisher's Write-Up

'When she sent that text, all our lives changed for ever...'

Fifty-one-year-old Tori Williams' life implodes when she sends a text while driving on the M62 motorway and allegedly causes the horrific crash in which three people die. Public and press are baying for her blood, but Tori is no wallflower and refuses to buckle under their pressure or be a pariah in society. Instead, she sets about saving the nation. But can she save Etta, the woman who saved her life? Or will Etta's secret be her downfall?

This incredibly topical and contemporary morality tale appeals across generations and will find favour with fans of authors such as Liane Moriarty, Marian Keyes and Kathryn Croft.

About the Author:
Jackie Buxton is a writer, editor and teacher of creative writing, living in Yorkshire with her husband and two teenage daughters. Jackie used her recent experience of an aggressive form of breast cancer to inform and dispel some myths about a cancer diagnosis via her popular blog. Her posts became the frame-work of self-help memoir, Tea & Chemo (Urbane Publications, November 2015).

Jackie's award-winning short stories can be found in three anthologies, They Lied!, Stories for Homes and Seaglass, as well as appearing regularly in Chase Magazine. When not writing or reading, over-seeing house and teens, Jackie can be found running, cycling or tripping up though the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. Her ambitions are modest: to read (even) more, go to bed earlier and have more coffee dates with friends. 

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (310318) Rating (9/10)

Review by Chrissi
Book Source: Purchased
Rating 9/10

I opened this book having not read the blurb. One of the joys of having stuff arrive on my kindle without any contribution from me is that I have the joy of a proper mystery, with none of those little hints so carefully put into the publicity for a book to make them stand out from the thousands of others that you might choose. Having finished it, I am really glad that I did not know about it because it has made me think about stuff as it is brought up in the book, rather than waiting for the fruition of a hint on the dustjacket.

It is so based in reality that it makes me shudder. For every time you watch as someone cuts a lane or whose lane discipline is so woeful that they cause the person driving behind them to brake or swerve, continuing on blissfully unaware of any issues left behind them. Every time I watch a car do something stupid, I wonder about what the driver is doing that is so important that piloting a tonne of metal becomes a secondary concern… you pass them and they are on the phone, speaking or texting, or reading a map braced on the steering wheel, or they are looking down to their passenger side, or anywhere but the road in front of them, and I kind of huff and think ‘what an idiot!’?

Now imagine that someone did something stupid in front and because they were doing anything but concentrating on their car on the road, and that a disastrous crash occurred. I say crash because it is not an accident. An accident is when a tree falls on you or some other act of god, and someone having an idiot moment is not an accident, not when it is because they are trying / failing to do two things at once.

This books opens with a horrendous scene, a woman is badly hurt, trapped in her car, and someone goes to try to aid her. The amount that anyone can do in such a situation is limited, but sitting and talking and touching is such a simple and human thing that it creates a link between these two beings.

The woman spends time in hospital, unaware that she is at the centre of a national debate on specifically her action, the sending of a text whilst driving, which contributed to the horrendous crash on a motorway. She is denigrated, a creature of media-created fear and loathing, evil personified with a mobile phone.

Now if that happens, what do you do, do you think ‘there but for the grace of god…’, or do you bay and howl and demand that the person you deem to be at fault be penalised and punished? Do you dissect their life to get to the root cause of everything that you hate about them? Do we as a society need to hate someone whose lapse has caused harm to another person or family? Those ordinary members of society who become known and vilified for one act - are they bad people 100% of the time? Probably not, maybe they are nice to cats. But society really only cares about the snippets – the news feed on the dratted mobile phones, and how nice it would be if anyone caught doing something that annoys us was properly punished? Because that is only right and proper, isn’t it?

Well, this is the brilliantly considered aftermath of the accident. It is difficult to feel empathy for someone painted evil, even if they are nice to cats, even if they were a saint, the prurient interests make it difficult for anyone to recover from an incident deemed so dreadful to society. So we see Tori and how she deals with her physical injuries and her mental torment. We also see those peripheral to the crash, and how the ripples spread out and away from her action.

It really is a thought provoking book, from the initial horror through to a certain catharsis, I was hooked. The interrelated stories, of families reunited and family members who chose to absent themselves from the whole situation, to those characters that you start out not liking but as you get to know them, they kind of grow on you (although I do not find scraggy pony tails on blokes such a good look). But enough of my personal prejudices… maybe it just goes to show how much this book spoke to me.

I suppose that sometimes you get away with stuff, and sometimes you don’t. For all the people who text whilst driving, or who just turn on their phone to read a text whilst driving (extra-large font size anyone? or the idiots who were driving in snow the other day without leaving any extra space in between them and the car in front), this is a cautionary tale of someone who, one day, did not get away with it. They should read this, it might make them think. And the wonderful potholed roads might be a little safer. Apart from acts of god. Or cats.
Chrissi (31st March 2018)

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