Friday, 10 September 2010

The green-eyed monster

Envy. One of the seven deadly sins, if you believe in such things. We all suffer from it now and then, and yet it is provoked by many different things: shoes, wealth, job promotions, lovers... and words. Yes, words. More to the point, the ability of another person to use words in such a way as to make us think, 'I wish I had written that!'

I recently read, for the second time and after a gap of many years, THE TOOTH FAIRY by Graham Joyce. It is something I originally picked up in a bookshop 'just because'. I wasn't familiar with the author and hadn't read a favourable review, it simply appealed to me in some way and so I bought it. That copy has gone the way of all things, but I have often thought of the story - the characters, events and the feelings it and they provoked - and so I recently bought the book again. Second time around, I was surprised both by how much I remembered of the story and also how much I had forgotten. I was not surprised to find that it evoked a strong reaction, just as it had the first time I read it.

THE TOOTH FAIRY is a wonderful read, a tale of growing up, rites of passage, friendship, love and loss - and the supernatural. The threads are drawn together so skillfully throughout that the pattern woven is both familiar, as we can identify with the characters in the story, and foreign, as the journey they - and we - take covers new and different territory. And at the end of it, as well as feeling that the story had fulfilled its promise to entertain, challenge and provoke, there was just a twinge of envy. Had I written that story, I would be very proud of it indeed.

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