I don’t often post my book reviews on this blog, but this is a special book.
I was drawn to this novel before I’d read a word of it, because of the plot and its similarity to my novel, Neither Here Nor There. I was aware that this might lead to disappointment with the actual novel, but after reading the online preview I doubted that would happen. I wasn’t disappointed at all.
As I read it, I thought about the similarities between Tegan and my main character, Esty. I also considered the differences. But those thoughts belong in a different post. For now, I want to discuss Free to Be Tegan.
I was with Tegan all the way, silently encouraging her to find the right path for herself and to learn to recognise lies, wherever they come from. From the very beginning, where she’s among people she has grown up with but is now shunned by; to the outside world where she’s all alone; to people who care for her but don’t understand her and others who want to use her to further their own agendas; to the end, which I won’t reveal; I never stopped believing in Tegan and her story.
Several other characters feature in this novel, taking major or minor parts. Some of them seem all good or all bad at first. But as the story progresses, the good ones turn out to be not so good and the bad ones not so bad. In other words, the characters, like the plot, are true to life.
This novel should be read for its interesting and well-written story line. It can also be read to learn about the inside of a cult, as well as the difficulties of leaving one and acclimatising to the world outside. Highly recommended.
Disclaimer: Despite the similarities between Tegan and Esty, including their former lives, I’m not implying Esty grew up in a cult. I just wanted to make that clear.
As it happens, one of the minor characters in this novel will be here this Friday for the series: Letters from Elsewhere.