Book Review: A Song for Tomorrow by Alice Peterson
I picked up this book (from net-galley, thanks!) thinking it was a romance/chicklit. However, if you’re thinking of reading Song for Tomorrow, be warned that it is more of an inspirational dramatic tale with a romantic undertone that will bring a tear to your eye.
Alice already has a boyfriend and has had some minor success as a model. She isn’t particularly passionate about either. She meets Tom and feels an instant attraction. While sorting out her lovelife, she also decides to pursue the career she’s always wanted; to become a singer. Life is short, after all. In particular, it’s expected to be short for Alice. Alice has cystic fibrosis.
This book is based upon the real life story of Alice Martineau (some fictional characters/scenarios were added by the author but on a whole, now that I’ve researched this a little, most of it reflects Alice’s real life). Unfortunately, at the beginning of the book, this was not stated. I didn’t realise until the end/acknowledgements that Alice wasn’t simply a fictional character. I think this is a real error on the part of the publishers because it made me reflect upon the characters in a completely different way and I would have enjoyed googling Alice’s songs etc whilst reading.
This will sound silly, but the beginning and ending of the book were great, but the middle sagged. Right up to the 40% mark, and from the 90% mark onwards, I would have quite happily given Song for Tomorrow a rating of 5/5. In between Peterson just seemed to get lost for a moment. I thought later that perhaps she was trying to add some substance and drama to the plot. This was unnecessary as Alice’s life was dramatic enough.
Basing the book on its writing merits alone, I would complain about the change of point of view. We get chapters from Alice and her mother which are first person, and then abruptly we get some chapters titled ‘Tom’ written in the third person point of view. I found this jarring.
I also admit I became a little disinterested in some of the repetition in the storyline from the halfway point of the book onwards. Yes, Alice wants to be a singing star. Yes, Tom finds the disease overwhelming at times because he wants a family. Yes, people are ignorant when it comes to disabilities. Yes, Alice is a funny girl who loves her friends, family and the medical staff who attend to her. I don’t know… I didn’t need to hear these sort of things over and over and they bogged down the flow of the book at times.
Despite these occasional missteps from Peterson, Alice Martineau’s and her family’s real life struggle increased my respect for the book. It will bring a lot of attention to organ donation and cystic fibrosis awareness. Alice Martineau’s music will also gain a new wave of fans. (Yes, I have now listened to her songs via youtube but unfortunately I can’t find them on itunes or spotify in Australia.)
Ultimately I enjoyed it and would recommend it.
4 out of 5