2 Book Lovers Reviews

We Spread 

By Iain Reid

​​What can I say about We Spread? I am a little bit at a loss.

We Spread follows Penny as the ability to take proper care of herself declines. We follow her through her transition from independent living, in the home that she and her partner lived in for decades, to a peculiar, assisted living facility, where all her needs are taken care of. This sort of transition is difficult, it is hard to admit when we are no longer able to do what we used to be able to do.

The story is told solely from Penny’s perspective, we know that her mind isn’t what it used to be. The whole thing made me think of a line I had heard years ago, I looked it up. Guess what? I found it on Goodreads and got the whole thing: “There are three sides to every story: your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently.” It comes from Robert Evans. I had to call into question everything that Penny told me, her story was inconsistent, fantastical and even horrifying. I had so many theories of what was going on in that house. I’m sure that if Shelley, the caretaker in the story, were to tell it, the story would be very different; but I don’t think that I would trust her either.

As someone with an aging parent, I was able to relate to/see parallels with what I see in my own life. I found, I want to say comfort in the story Reid told, but it really isn’t comfortable, perhaps an acceptance of the story being as accurate as possible. I found I could relate to the situation.

What was Reid doing with We Spread? Was he exploring the possibilities of an unreliable narrator, all the fun he could have with that? Was he exploring the aging process, to reflect in the story how a person sees things as they age, how their imagination seems so real to them? Or was he just having fun and is now laughing “Na, na, na, na, na, you still don’t know what happened.”

*4 Stars

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