A really enjoyable novel about the impact of disability on the friendship of two couples. Each chapter is written from the different perspectives of each of the couples; a story about a woman who did not have her children vaccinated against measles which has catastrophic consequences for the child of the other couple. The story unfolds against a background of entangled relationships which began years earlier at University. I really enjoyed the fact that each perspective was so different from the others and that you got a genuine feel for how each of the parties handled the consequences of a refusal to vaccinate children against measles, which is still a topical subject now. This is a gritty, well paced novel demonstrating a great understanding of relationships. However, I rather think it downplays the impact of being deaf and I would have enjoyed the novel more if this had not been the case. Initially, I thought I could see where the story was leading, and assume that one of the relationships would break down and a new one would form between the rivalling couples. Yet the ending was quite different and very surprising. On occasion I found it confusing trying to remember all the names of the 4 adults and 4 children, especially as each chapter offers only a small snapshot of the feelings and emotions experienced by each party. Further, mutual friends of the 2 couples are mentioned quite heavily which I felt was confusing. However, once I was able to remember all the details, it became a very fascinating story and I regretted the book coming to an end!
I think this novel would be really interesting and involving for a group read, particularly when trying to predict the ending, and it really opens a very sensitive debate about the value of the MMR vaccine. Yet this is equally a well-paced and thought-provoking read for the individual.