Reviewed by Jennifer Joyce
Fifteen-year-old Roe has never had a conventional life. Abandoned by her mother, Roe has grown up with Peter Davis, who took Roe in as a baby and instantly loved her. Roe and her adoptive father are very close until one morning when she discovers Peter is missing. Without a word, her father has walked out and left Roe wondering where he is and why he left her. Roe’s aunt Linden comes to stay and together they must wait and see whether Peter will return or even get in touch.
When I read the blurb for Ramshackle, I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to dive in. I was expecting a quick (it’s only 159 pages long) mystery or thriller as we learned what happened to Peter and why he left Roe on her own – or if he had left her at all. Perhaps he had been taken or even killed. Unfortunately I was left disappointed. The blurb states, ‘As Roe tries to find out where he is and why he left, her past unravels, revealing secrets and lies that will change her future forever’, so I expected a lot of digging and sleuthing, but there wasn’t much of that at all. Roe went about her days in a relatively normal fashion, attending school and hanging out with her best friend and boyfriend. She did rebel a little and was obviously worried and hurt by her father’s disappearance, but I kept waiting for something big to happen and it never did.
I couldn’t really warm to the main character, Roe. I found her quite surly and gobby, and was put off her from the beginning as she wiped bogies under the table within the first few sentences. It was all probably typical teenage behaviour, but I found it difficult to relate to her. I wasn’t overly keen on the way some of the sentences were structured – for example, ‘Two cars in the drive. All the lights in the house on. Maliciously bright.’ Non-fully formed sentences were dotted about the book and they jarred and interrupted the flow of the story for me.
The blurb of Ramshackle was full of promise, but I’m afraid, for me, it didn’t deliver.