book cover

The Spare Room by Helen Garner

About the book

How much of ourselves must we give up to help a friend in need? Helen has little idea what lies ahead—and what strength she must muster—when she offers her spare room to an old friend, Nicola, who has arrived in the city for cancer treatment. Skeptical of the medical establishment, and placing all her faith in an alternative health center, Nicola is determined to find her own way to deal with her illness, regardless of the advice Helen offers.

Reviewed by Denmead Reading Circle:

Really loved by all, an honest account of a very difficult experience. Clear, accurate writing. Believable characters, ‘no violins’. Thank you for introducing us to this book and author.

Star rating: ****

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4 thoughts on “The Spare Room by Helen Garner”

  1. Review by New Forest/Waterside U3A Reading Group:
    Although after a quite extended discussion, the group with reservations agreed on a star rating of three. Asked if they would recommend it to a friend the answer was ‘probably not’. they found Garner’s style of writing refreshingly different from British and American novels and became aware that colloquial Australian holds a great deal of the unfamiliar. Looking beyond the plot they found the motivations of all the main characters well worth exploring. This is a thought provoking novel if you are prepared to be challenged.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Reading Enthusiasts Group:
    The book was a graphic representation of how people cope with cancer. It portrayed each personality very well. It showed the strains of caring for someone and the strain cancer can put on friendships and family relationships. It was an interesting and thought provoking book, we did not enjoy the ending and would not recommend it to a friend.
    Star rating:*+

  3. Review by Alverstoke Ladies
    A thought provoking book about a very touchy subject. Harrowing story of friendship and love. Provoked a lot of comment from the group.
    Star rating: **

  4. Review by Warsash Bookworms
    We found the content unusual and often distressing. However, the insight and analysis of human feelings led to much discussion.
    Star rating: ***

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