A Review of IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE by Jesse Blackadder

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IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE by Jesse Blackadder will be published on March 19th 2019 by St. Martin's Press. The novel, originally titled SIXTY SECONDS, was first published October 1st 2017.

 The Brennan family have recently moved from Tasmania to New South Wales, and they are still adjusting to their new lives when tragedy strikes. When he was briefly left unattended, the family’s two-year-old son Toby, somehow wanders into the closed off pool area and drowns before either of his parents find him. Finn and Bridget, as well as their teenaged son Jarrah, are shattered by Toby’s unexpected death and all of them seek answers about what really happened that day. The local police also want to know if Toby’s death was a tragic accident or the result of negligence. Finn decides in the immediate aftermath that he will take the blame for leaving the gate to the pool area open – sparing Bridget from blaming herself for briefly leaving their son unattended and also (in his mind) making up for a past transgression that nearly ruined their marriage. Turning against her husband, Bridget seeks comfort in surprising places. And Jarrah is thrust into adulthood – forced to face the loss of his brother and his own identity.

 IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE is an emotional, heartbreaking drama about every parent’s worst nightmare – the death of a child. The fact that the author lived through a similar tragedy – her sister drowned when they were children – makes the story all the more real. The novel is told from three separate points of view – Finn’s third-person perspective, Bridget’s second-person perspective, and Jarrah’s first-person perspective. At first, Bridget’s second-person perspective was a bit off-putting since that POV is so rarely used – everything was described as “you did this” and “you felt this.” After a while, I got used to it and even enjoyed it as Bridget tells the story to herself. Finn’s third-person perceptive was a bit detached as it showed him from the outside looking in on the events. Jarrah’s first-person perspective was very abrupt and immediate – much like a teenager would think.

 I enjoyed the novel – it was very emotional, and I enjoyed the three different points of view. That being said, there were certain aspects of the novel that I did not enjoy. I did not like the parents at all – especially since they basically dumped their toddler onto their teenage son. I was in no way surprised when Toby drowned as neither parent seemed interested in watching him. Finn was the usual caretaker, but he was too busy working on his art to pay attention. And Bridget…well, she hardly seemed to know how to take care of her child. I was also concerned about Jarrah’s love for his baby brother causing him to question his sexuality. I had no problem with his journey to discover his sexuality, but there just seemed to be an underlying pedophilia thing going on. There was also nothing about Jarrah that led me to think he was gay aside from some random mentions about a boy he used to know who accused him of being gay. A bully called him gay – something that teenage bullies do all the time – and somehow that makes Jarrah gay? Given, the teenager still swims naked with his parents…that could explain some things.

 Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.