My book review of 'Never Ending' by Martyn Bedford

by Martyn Bedford
Recommended age: Teen
Never Ending
by Martyn Bedford

I received a proof copy  so didn't have to confront the cover image which looks unnerving and doesn't reflect the tone of the book, in my opinion. It's a difficult title to recommend in a bookshop context, yet I hope it does have a wide audience.

We meet Shiv, the central character, as she is being taken to a clinic by her father. Gradually we come to learn that this is a residential centre where Shiv will be helped through the grief, and the associated bad behaviour that has resulted from the guilt she feels at her brother's death.

At the clinic there are five other residents, all teenagers, all dealing with the responsibility they feel towards the death of a loved one.

We learn of the therapies they experience and the outcomes, and gradually, through interwoven chapters, we learn of the holiday where Shiv's brother dies.

This is a stunning book. There is no sentimentality or undue tugging at heartstrings. The stories are sad, but are simply stated. The author suggests, simply, the different reactions to grief, the different ways in which we cope, and how we might deal with guilt in order to live on.

I think it is a fascinating book but I doubt a parent would want to buy it for a young person unless there were 'issues' that needed to be addressed. And I can't really imagine a young person would pick it up as an entertaining read? Yet it was enjoyable; it made you think without leaving you traumatised.

I look forward to reading more by this author - his first book 'Flip' I often recommend. Read that review here

Review date: January 2014