I thought I would do something a bit different with some of my reviews. I wanted to start doing a half time point of view, to see how my reading is coming along.
I have been following Libby for some time on social media, I love her honest approach when it comes to her writing and is more than willing to say when she is having difficulties or when she has a creative moment to be able to move her book forward. Any aspiring authors should follow her, because she is an inspirational woman and honest which I respect.
The Lido is a book I have been wanting to read for some time and I am cross with myself for not picking it up sooner. From the first chapter, I was fully engaged and felt that I was part of the community. Libby seems to want you to be part of the local people and the people written are people that seem familiar.
We follow several characters who make up the local community. Predominately we follow Kate who is 26-year-old journalist who has no confidence, seems lost and is riddled with loneliness. She is such a relatable character and one that I have been cheerleading for throughout the first part of the book, she deserves a break, which would only boost her confidence. Then there is Rosemary, she is 86 years old and has been swimming in her local Lido for pretty much most of her life, even the war did not put her off. These two unlikely characters come together when the Lido is threatened with closure and Kate has been tasked with writing the story about the closure and the local community. You witness the first chink of “The Panic” as Kate describes it being chipped away. So, far I have been slowly watching Kate come out of her shell like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon.
We learn about Rosemary’s back story which is filled with a lot of love but sadness and grief. Rosemary acknowledges her body is failing her, but the Lido is a part of her life a part of her being and she does not seem to want or could face losing it too. Rosemary is an integral part of the community she has lived there for all of her life even during the war when everyone was being evacuated, and she has slowly seen Brixton change over time, shops changing, the people, the local library closing, the one thing that seems to have been a constant in her life is going to the Lido every morning. Standing out on her balcony and seeing the Lido, when she is due to go to bed, seeing the Lido closed up in anticipation for its early morning visitors. Rosemary even knows the routine for the local wildlife who seems to like to have a dip to.
The Lido is the one thing that brings the community together. You may not know the names of your fellow swimmers, but that is chatter and a clear connection and acknowledgement that coming to the Lido is a moment in time for you, to reflect, to be able to float away any problems and possibly forget for a little time. You are able to leave you issues in the changing room and that moment in time there is nothing for you to be concerned about. The Lido does not discriminate young and old use it, people who are rich or poor use it and there is no judgement.
My half-time thoughts are, I have fallen in love with this book. My husband asked how I was doing with the book, and I simply had no words to describe how much this book has touched me, and has had a real effect on me, in a positive way. The characters I am invested in, the community, the Lido and the fight. I want to be part of the movement, I want to help – and then I realise, its just a book.
So far, this book is just breathtaking and my favourite for the year. Fingers crossed the second half is just as good.