Genre: Contemporary Fiction
When Kate Thomas finds a lump on her breast, she fears the worst. After all, her mother died from breast cancer. The story follows Kate for twelve days as she undergoes medical and personal tests triggered by her discovery.
“Margaret Forrest is an artist, furniture designer, and illustrator whose work has been shown in the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR, the Wexler Gallery in Philadelphia, and the Meredith Gallery in Baltimore, MD... Margaret Forrest was born in Maine. She currently lives in northern New Mexico.”
I was captivated by Kate’s personality: genuine, intelligent, necessarily fearful (because of the lump), at times irreverent but also introspective. This story could easily be non-fiction--an autobiographical description of how Kate’s life turned upside down. Real or not, the author had me believing. At times, I laughed aloud at Kate’s wry life observances. A few sentences later, I’d be sharing her fear and approving of her seemingly irrational reaction to how people treated her and her lump.
I read the story in one sitting. The prose is clean, crisp and engaging throughout. Try this for a description of how Kate feels after taking her mammogram: “I feel as though I’ve just boarded a train without knowing where it’s taking me.” Ahhh, nice words.
The author illustrates her tale with a number of charming, poignant pencil sketches. These images were a wonderful surprise, and they sucked me into the story even more, adding a layer of humanity and personal detail that enriched my reading experience.
I’ve recommended the story to my step-daughter (who recently recovered from breast cancer) I know she’s going to empathize and laugh along with Kate. But you don’t need any association with cancer to enjoy this book--highly recommended.
Added for Reprise Review: The Test by Margaret Forrest was a nominee in the Contemporary Fiction category for B&P 2013 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran February 9, 2013
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Approximate word count: 35,000-40,000 words