Thrown by Sara Cox

I’m a huge fan of Sara Cox’s BBC 2 Between the Covers so when the lovely folk at Team Bookends sent me a surprise early reader copy of Sara’s debut novel, Thrown, in return for an honest review, I couldn’t have been happier. I’m delighted to share my review of Thrown today.

Published by Coronet on 12th May, Thrown is available for purchase through the links here.

Thrown

Becky: a single mum who prides herself on her independence. She knows from painful experience that men are trouble.
Louise: a loving husband, gorgeous kids. She ought to feel more grateful.
Jameela: all she’s ever done is work hard, and try her best. Why won’t life give her the one thing she really wants?
Sheila: the nest is empty, she dreams of escaping to the sun, but her husband seems so distracted.

The inhabitants of the Inventor’s Housing Estate keep themselves to themselves. There are the friendly ‘Hellos’ when commutes coincide and the odd cheeky eye roll when the wine bottles clank in number 7’s wheelie bin, but it’s not exactly Ramsay Street.

The dilapidated community centre is no longer the beating heart of the estate that Becky remembers from her childhood. So the new pottery class she’s helped set up feels like a fresh start. And not just for her.

The assorted neighbours come together to try out a new skill, under the watchful eye of their charismatic teacher, Sasha. And as the soft unremarkable lumps of clay are hesitantly, lovingly moulded into delicate vases and majestic pots, so too are the lives of four women. Concealed passions and heartaches are uncovered, relationships shattered and formed, and the possibility for transformation is revealed.

My Review of Thrown

Pottery classes are about to begin!

Is Thrown the most literary novel you’ll encounter? Well no. Is Thrown, however, jam packed with warmth, relatable themes and characters, and a wonderful sense of having been royally entertained so that the reader finishes the story feeling uplifted and happy? Completely!

Insightful, warm-hearted with a magical sprinkling of humour balanced by human insecurities and relatable anxieties, Sara Cox creates a community any reader would love to belong to. Reading about these vivid, ordinary folk is an absolute delight. I adored this cast of characters. Sara Cox isn’t afraid to convey them with complete humanity. I found Tony scarily plausible and I’d happily have caused him physical injury. I think it’s powerful writing to create such a response in the reader. My heart went out to all of the others although Becky was the person I most enjoyed getting to know.

The metaphor of pottery is perfect for Thrown. Not only do many characters find themselves thrown by events, but they themselves are like the items made in the community centre. Some are more perfect than others. Many have flaws. Some are broken and every single person is unique. What I found so successful too, is the fact that at the end of the book, not every single plot element is resolved; just like real life not everyone gets a happy ending or knows exactly what will happen next.

There’s considerable humour in the depiction of the characters and moments in the plot, but as well as a wonderfully entertaining and uplifting story, Thrown has a darker element too. The lives of Becky, Louise, Jameela and Sheila are riven with the kind of problems, sacrifices and tribulations so many of us face so that it feels as if all modern life is present. There were times I felt tense, desperately sad and enraged as well as occasions when I laughed aloud and felt uplifted so that Thrown has depth and texture far beyond my expectations.
I have to admit to being sceptical about so-called celebrity authors, but in Thrown Sara Cox’s warm, narrative voice reverberates with such authenticity that this book couldn’t have come from anyone else. She balances comedy and tragedy with equal élan. Thrown is a smashing book and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

About Sara Cox

Sara is known and loved by millions of Radio 2 listeners, where she presents the Sara Cox Show 5-7 pm. She has also hosted Sounds of The 80s and steered the helm of her own nightly Radio 2 show. She cut her teeth on Radio 1 and presented The Breakfast Show for 4 years, reaching 8 million listeners. Sara currently hosts the popular weekly TV book programme Between the Covers on BBC2. Her most recent TV work includes The Great Pottery Throwdown (BBC2), Back In Time… (BBC2), and BBC2’s dating series Love In The Countryside. Her memoir, Till the Cows Come Home (2018), was a Sunday Times bestseller. Sara’s TV career began with The Girlie Show, and she’s gone on to present numerous shows for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. She is a regular co-presenter of Radio 4’s Loose Ends and has written columns for the Mirror and Guardian. Sara’s latest TV project is Britain’s Best Takeaway, due to air on BBC 2 in 2022.

You can find out more by following Sara on Twitter @sarajcox and on Instagram.

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