Welcome to my stop on the blog tour today! I’m delighted to share my review for Shelf Life!
Ruth is thirty years old. She works as a nurse in a care home and her fiancé has just broken up with her. The only thing she has left of him is their shopping list for the upcoming week.
And so she uses that list to tell her story. Starting with six eggs, and working through spaghetti and strawberries, and apples and tea bags, Ruth discovers that her identity has been crafted from the people she serves; her patients, her friends, and, most of all, her partner of ten years. Without him, she needs to find out – with conditioner and single cream and a lot of sugar – who she is when she stands alone.
Thirty year old Ruth is devastated when long term partner Neil reveals he wants to break up. One moment, she is washing the pots, engagement ring safely tucked away, the next, everything begins to change. Ten years of life, the home they have made unravels. With a pair of soapy marigolds on her hands, she is caught unaware by Neil’s sudden departure. He dashes through the house, packs his things and leaves, even taking the laundry basket with him. Ruth is left adrift, weightless, afraid to be alone, afraid of what it means to be alone. She must learn how to live again. And this time, for herself.
As the story unfolds, the author allows the reader glimpses of Ruth’s past, by alternating back and forth, building a picture of who she was and how she has come to be who she is. We are also given an insight into Neil’s life, the influence and affect he had over Ruth. This can be quite surprising as he definitely isn’t who he first appeared to be.
Shelf Life is a very powerful read. It has some sensitive themes but the author tackles them with care and consideration. The prose is clever and refreshing. The characters are very unique, with quirks that make them stand out and grab your attention. They will stick in my mind for a long time. Ruth especially. I loved following her journey.
I think this would make a brilliant book club read. Ruth is a character you instantly sympathise with. But it’s only as you read and get further into the story, you really come to understand her as a character. Shelf Life is a quirky, original read that has so much heart. I really enjoyed it!
To purchase a copy of this book, you can follow the links below
About the Author
Livia Franchini is a writer and translator from Tuscany, Italy, whose short stories have been published in numerous anthologies. Livia is also an inaugural writer-in-residence for the Connecting Emerging Literary Artist project. She lives in London and is completing a PhD in experimental women’s writing at Goldsmiths University.
Follow the bloggers on the #ShelfLife blog tour!