My reading over the Christmas and New year period was eclectic. First of all the bestseller The Girl on the Train which was a page-turner but ultimately as unsatisfying as a hurried slice of toast for breakfast. Then there were the research papers on the experiences of donor conceived adults towards my talk at the BFS on Friday. My husband gave me John Cross’s book about Arsene Wenger but there is so much even a devoted Arsenal fan like me can read about dressing room culture and transfer fees. What really turned me on was an extraordinary new book featuring as incidental characters DC Network and the HFEA and starring a fifteen year old girl. Silence is Goldfish details what happens when Tess, who is donor conceived but has not known this before, accidentally reads the beginning of a blog written by her dad. I really, really don’t want to spoil the story for anyone who decides to read this exceptional and unusual book, but let’s just say that a child’s torch, shaped like a goldfish, helps Tess express herself when she is unable to do so by other means. The adolescent emotions and behaviour of both Tess and other teenagers at her school feel authentic, although sadly I suspect cyber as well as face to face bullying would likely feature in a real-life scenario.
I think this book is intended for young adults – and I can see it being of interest to a much broader audience than donor conceived teenagers – but I read it as a cautionary tale for parents. This is what might happen if you don’t face your own difficult feelings and understand that ‘telling’ early is vitally important for your child…and the whole family.
If you’d like to read more, the Guardian’s reviewer was ecstatic –
Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher, published in the UK by Indigo