I first heard about Disclaimer by Renee Knight as I usually do: on Twitter. Agent Felicity Blunt and publicist Alison Barrow started an amazing campaign: What if the book you are reading werte actually about you?
Catherine Ravenscroft is a middle-aged woman who, apparently, leads the most normal of lives. She has a husband and a child, she has a job that she loves, and she likes reading. Now that her child earns his own living, she has just moved to a new, smaller house with her husband. In the chaos that comes with moving, she finds herself reading, The Perfect Stranger, a book she does not remember buying, neither does her husband. Imagine her surprise when the story is actually hers, and only hers. No one, she thinks, knew anything about it. Until now…
The premise for Disclaimer is perfect, especially for book lovers. We usually find wisdom, solace, and many positive things on books, but what if those beloved books turned into our worst nightmare? However, I could not sympathise either with Catherine nor with her story. You all know I like reading about unlikable female characters, and Catherine had many features that would have made her an amazing main character. But there was something that did not work for me, even now, . Eventually, when the truth comes out, Catherine emerges as a strong, very wise woman, but this process is a journey, and that is what Disclaimer is about.
Because I do not want to spoil the mystery side of the book, I will not say anything more. This is just a disclaimer that Disclaimer is more a psychological portrait of Catherine than a fast paced mystery. Knight takes her time to weigh on motherhood, marriage, sex, and the many burdens that women face. What makes you a good mother? What makes you a good wife? What makes you a good lover? And most importantly, who gets the privilege to judge you? It was this side of the book – the one that explores the sudden transformation by which middle-aged, white, middle-class women become less reliable and less important than younger ones – that made me give the book three starts at Goodreads.
Disclaimer by Renee Knight comes out on 9th April 2015.