'The Carer' Book Review

Book: The Carer

Author: Deborah Moggach Genre: Fiction Pages: 272 (Kindle) Published: July 2019

My Rating: 2/5 Stars

Today's book review is 'The Carer' by Deborah Moggach, enjoy!


James is getting on a bit and needs full-time help. So Phoebe and Robert, his middle-aged offspring, employ Mandy, who seems willing to take him off their hands. But as James regales his family with tales of Mandy's virtues, their shopping trips, and the shared pleasure of their journeys to garden centres, Phoebe and Robert sense something is amiss. Is this really their father, the distant figure who never once turned up for a sports day, now happily chortling over cuckoo clocks and television soaps?

Then something happens that throws everything into new relief, and Phoebe and Robert discover that life most definitely does not stop for the elderly. It just moves onto a very different plane - changing all the stories they thought they knew so well.

(From Goodreads - Link )


‘The Carer’ by Deborah Moggach is a difficult one to review. It was very different from what I was expecting, and not necessarily in a good way. Moggach has published many novels, including bestseller ‘Tulip Fever’ and she even adapted Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for the 2005 film, so I was expecting so much more from this book.

Judging from the title and the synopsis, I had already started to guess where the story may lead – and gladly (I do like to be surprised!) I got it wrong, and it did take an unexpected turn. Following on from the synopsis above, ‘The Carer’ is about two siblings – Robert and Phoebe, and how they’re going to care for their dad, before their saviour Mandy is found to put all their minds at ease. Only Robert and Phoebe soon discover differences in the father they knew and their father now… and they begin to suspect Mandy is to blame.

I thought this novel could have huge potential. Working in the care industry myself, I thought it could really dig deep into the highs and lows of care; the worsening dementia over time, the sometimes verbal and physical abuse from patients, how to make personal cares more dignifying, while also having the ability to laugh along and make every day enjoyable. Instead, it was more a book of family drama, of secrets, loss and love. This was still a good read in itself, yet simply not what I was expecting.

The structure of the book was easy to read, in the same style as my last review, whereby each chapter is from the perspective of a different character. The plot started quickly and to the point, yet I feel that the ending was dragged on longer than it should have been. After Robert and Phoebe discover the reason why their father has changed from the man they knew, I feel that from then onwards the book could have been massively reduced. I can’t say much on this due to spoilers, but I did start to lose interest once ‘this event’ happened (I’ll say no more!).

The characterisation however, I found to be a little bland. Each character was different yet similar, and some did have depth to them – but I feel there was something missing. Mandy’s character stood out most to me, you could almost hear her voice through the pages: she’s definitely not afraid to speak her mind! And while the other characters did hold their own secrets, there wasn’t anything particularly funny or intriguing about them, at least in my opinion.

Like I say, mixed opinions on this one. I wouldn’t read it again, as it’s just not by kind of book and therefore I give a rating of two out of five stars. A trigger warning to consider: there is a mention of non-consensual sexual themes which does go into a little bit of detail (you’re welcome to message me if you’d like to ask any questions before reading), and it does also contain some strong language.

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Have a lovely week!

Take care, Sophie x

Disclaimer: As mentioned in my 'Terms and Conditions' page, I am not asked to write my book reviews, contacted by the author/publisher in any way nor have I been given anything in exchange for my reviews, unless otherwise stated.

'The Carer' by Deborah Moggach

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