ATTEND | West Camel
12.13.2018 | Orenda Books
Rating: 4/5 stars
This is the story of Anne and Sam. They haven’t met yet, but their lives are slowly becoming connected on many levels. Anne is a recovering heroin addict trying to make her life normal again in her hometown of Deptford. Things are tense between Anne, her family, and former close friends as she works to prove that she has changed. Sam has recently moved to Deptford from a empty life where he brought home a new man every night. He wants a simple life where he can be happy and away from his past mistakes.
While trying to reinvent themselves, Anne and Sam will both become friends with Deborah. She is unlike anyone they have ever met before. She is eccentric and comes with a plethora of stories to tell. Deborah is a self-proclaimed centenarian with tales that sound like they come from a storybook. Through a series of interrelated events, Anne and Sam’s worlds will collide. They will find themselves turning to the one woman who can solve their problems, Deborah, and together the trio will enter a world where the improbable feels real.
It was mine. My place. My story.
West Camel’s ATTEND is a work of literary fiction that draws the reader into the lives of Anne, Sam, and Deborah, who are three characters that on the surface don’t appear to have much in common. By the end of the book their lives are woven together in a pattern that can never come undone. Camel has created the characters of Anne and Sam with backstories that feel real and relatable, so that the reader is instantly connected to them. They both have troubled pasts, which you desperately hope they can work through and find a silver lining in life.
The character of Deborah is one who comes across as endearing as someone’s grandmother. The type of women who loves to embrace the company of others and share her stories. Deborah’s life history is certainly nothing short of captivating. She has lived quite the life over the course of 100+ years. As she unravels her past to both Anne and Sam, the reader can feel a sense that these stories possess a magical quality that Deborah wholehearted believes in. She challenges Anne and Sam to see the world in a different light. To see beyond the hurt and their damaged pasts. To embrace the future and their paths to redemption.
There was no real resolution, he realized; just a new tangle, and another new tangle, all catching on each other. There was nothing smooth with a clear end.
ATTEND is the story of three people whose lives become threaded together at a point where they each need a friend to lean on more than they ever imagined. Tragedy and pain are certainly prominent emotions within these pages, but what stands out more is the feeling of hope and friendship. The belief that things can get better and that sometimes people just need a helping hand to get there. Camel’s writing is imaginative and yet real at the same time. This book is so hard to classify for me past literary fiction. There are elements of magical realism mixed with historical fiction mixed with contemporary fiction. At the end of the day ATTEND is a book that can connect readers across the genres and is a book I would recommend every reader add to their list!
Disclosure: Thank you to Orenda Books for sending me a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
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