The Marble Collector
We found the characters in this book interesting and well drawn. It was easy to read, although perhaps a little slow to start. Most of us read the book to the end.
Fergus Bloggs has had a severe stroke and, going through his belongings, his daughter Sabrina finds boxes of marbles. This coincides with a rare day off from work for her and she sets about finding out more about her father and the marbles both of which were a mystery to her.
Fergus was a secretive man. He was ashamed of his family, even of his wife later in life so he invents a different life for himself, using the name of his idolised dead brother. He was a champion at marbles, but his family knew nothing of this side of his life. Sabrina’s character developed during the book as she was struggling to find out what had happened in her father’s life and what had happened to the two valuable marbles she had discovered were missing from his collection that she had found. It seems for a long time that these missing marbles had been sold – and indeed it seems that Fergus believed this to be the case as he had given them to his last love - Cat - to sell to make the money that he was desperately in need of but it transpires that Cat had not sold them and had given him the money herself. She knew how much the marbles meant to Fergus so kept them for him.
There were several passages that we felt were well written and that we enjoyed. We found the passage at the start of the book, where Fergus’ mother loses her longed for baby girl at birth, very sad and well written and we liked the fact that she got on with life after this tragedy. Fergus’ stroke and subsequent loss of memory was also sad but we found his brothers coming to the care home to see him in the end very pleasing and again well written.
Sabrina’s husband was interesting as he seemed t be making up for his extra marital affair by being kind and supportive during Sabrina’s search for her family history. Sabrina was able to let go of this and finally answer some questions about herself too. We felt that Sabrina would have been keen to search her family history, as she did have a rather boring job, although we did like the elderly man who kept trying to drown himself.
We found the story character driven and interesting, delving in to the subject of family secrets and lies. We learned about the games and making of marbles and felt that the loose ends were well tied up at the end if the book. Some of our readers were interested enough in the subject to Google’ Marbles as a game for adults,’ which we had not come across before, it being a game for children as far as we were concerned. One striking and perhaps slightly odd note was that although the cover makes much of the fact that the story takes place in one day we none of us felt that this came across at all in the reading.
Our score for this book was 6.5 out of 10
I enjoyed the way this book was written and the way the secret was unravelled. The descriptions of the characters and the relationships held the story together well.
My reading group were fortunate to win a set of this title from RGfE. By and large we all enjoyed it, apart from one who thought it was a bit an unlikely story. Without a doubt we all thought the marbles were an original plot idea and certainly made us all think how pretty they are and how we know so little about such an innocent childhood item. The secrecy and indeed compulsion that Fergus adopts in relation to his marbles is understandable when you know his childhood but slightly more baffling as time goes on. One or two of us found Sabrina's angst a bit over the top, but it didn't really impair our enjoyment overall. The book was easy to read and two of our group said they'd definitely want to read more of Ms Ahern's work.
I really enjoyed this book and the different perspectives that it is told from. The build up of the story and how the missing pieces of memory are pieced together are maintained well throughout. I liked the use of playing marbles as a 'dirty secret' and double life that had to be kept from his family as a theme throughout the story. Something so simple and seemingly innocent has created so much secrecy and lies within a family; usually in books this would be an affair or double life, so for it to be something less sinister was really refreshing. Cecelia's writing is as captivating and page-turning as ever and creates a really good read.
This was a read that i found couldn't put down! The way in which the author, Cecelia Ahern, switched from character to character throughout was very clever. It just goes to show that secrets can bring you closer to a person who you previously thought you knew all about, no matter how upsetting or moving they are. Really enjoyed reading this
I really enjoyed the book. It was easy to read in a lighthearted way yet covered a deep and interesting storyline. Somehow it seemed a bit short though, like it was missing something which is why i gave it only 4/5.