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The Lido by Libby Page - Review

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Where did I get it? Netgalley, so many thanks to Orion Publishing Group

What's it about? This is a book for adults but the story is very sweet and the book has nothing of an adult theme, so I would say that a teenager who is interested in the plot could read this book and heartily enjoy it. Because of that, I'm doing my Young Adult review, even though this is an adult book. I hope that makes sense! 

It's set in London, in Brixton, around the lido in the park in Brockwell Park. We meet Rosemary, who is 86, and who has been swimming at the lido for eighty years. She swims there most mornings and is worried to hear that the council is poised to sell the lido to a developer who want to make it into a gym for nearby flats. Through the novel we see Rosemary's life and how she met her husband George, and her fifty years of marriage to him. 

Meanwhile we meet Kate, who is 26 and from Bristol, and who lives in a house of multiple occupancy in Brixton, with housemates she doesn't know and never sees. She works on the Brixton Chronicle, and is pretty miserable. She gets panic attacks - which I actually thought were excellently written and very real - and feels like she's adrift in her life. 

She's sent to write a story about the lido and through that she meets Rosemary and the two become friends. Kate meets people within the community and starts to care deeply about
the future of the lido.

I think this is a really accomplished debut novel, even though I thought it was a bit predictable in parts. I got a real sense of Brixton community throughout eighty years of Rosemary's life, which I liked, and it made my long dream of swimming in a lido even stronger! (Maybe this year I'll finally make it to Hathersage lido!)

What age range is it for? From age 14, probably. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Not a main character per se, but yes

Are any main characters people of colour? Again, not main characters, but yes. I thought the ethnic diversity of Brixton wasn't touched upon enough, actually, which is one of my few criticisms. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? I guess Kate's panic attacks. 

Is there any sex stuff? Yes, but it's quite fade to black. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No, there might be like one mention of weed. 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, but it's not gory or graphic

Are there swear words? No 

What criticisms do I have? As above, I would have liked more on the many different people who have made Brixton their home and contributed to the community there. 

Would I recommend the book? Yes.

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I had read a chapter sampler last year, so when Orion granted me the book I knew I wanted to read the book soon!

What other books is it like? It has tones of A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale. I can't exactly explain why, but that feels like a good fit. 

How many stars? Four out of five. A perfect read for a cold winter night when I'm longing for spring!

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