“I Wish I Could Say I Was Sorry” by Susie Kelly is a fascinating look at a woman’s life that was both ordinary for her time and extraordinary for any time.
Born in post-war England but raised mostly in Kenya, author Susie Kelly grew up the privileged daughter of whites in a country undergoing change. Her own life was filled with change as well—from an almost idyllic childhood to estrangement from her parents, jobs easy and dreadful, an unhappy marriage complete with horrid mother-in-law, children, divorce, and life after. Told in clear, concise prose, the reader feels as if (s)he is sitting at the table listening to Kelly tell her story. The writing is straightforward but evocative, and at times painfully honest. It takes a brave person to admit she married basically to keep a horse—the exquisite Cinderella, the source of one of the few calm centers in a tumultuous life.
In a blog post, Kelly wrote that she’d written this book several times, but that earlier versions never had the right tone. The time and many rewritings were worth it. The tone is measured, mature, and just right. The pace is generally good. There were places I wished she’d explained a little more and occasionally I felt jumbled in time, but overall I was drawn in and compelled to keep turning the pages.
A strong 4.2 stars.
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.