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A loosely woven story of family, set mainly in Richmond, South West LONDON

19th June 2024

Scripted by Fearne Cotton, a loosely woven story of family set mainly in Richmond, South West London.

A loosely woven story of family, set mainly in Richmond

There is an interesting premise at the heart of this novel. Unassuming Jade is pottering through her life but then, whilst she is out and about, she stumbles across a script, which predicts what will happen in the next leg of her life. This is just the first of several scripts which she discovers, seemingly by chance.

The issue that has concerned her for much of her life is her biddable nature and her inability to say no. She comes to realise that this is about boundary setting and learning to look after her own needs, but this only develops after she has been put upon by her sister Lily, who foists her children on her without a by your leave – even though Jade would have to forego a Kings of Leon concert, for which she has tickets. Her sister also doesn’t bother to pick the kids up at the end of the weekend. Her boyfriend Adam has decamped to LA and is a self-focussed individual. Jade just can’t say no, until, on a trip to Dorset, the penny drops: “The first few [scripts] had brought absolute dread, but now she could see  that they were showing her where she needed to speak up. They were acting as lighthouses to better days.”

Her sister is self referring and totally bound up in her upcoming wedding. Her mother is dismally unresponsive to Jade’s needs (she is a fond tippler) and Adam – you can tell from the off – will fail her. Colin, her manager is a demanding and rather creepy man, who doesn’t consider the inappropriateness of getting Jade to choose sexy underwear for his partner.  You can see, given her life experiences, how these people all take advantage of her self loathing. But to be honest, they are all simple caricatures, which means they all feel quite wooden.

The story moves through the rehearsal dinner and then on to her sister’s actual wedding.

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I guess you could interpret the scripts as a kind of material expression of Jade’s unconscious mind. They are a device to get her to confront her own inner insecurities, which of course enable Jade to mature into a young woman who will learn to manage her life in a much better and less compliant way. Actually, no, this hypothesis is way too deep for the main tenet of the story, so ignore that.

It is a lightweight read, a little hackneyed in terms of the people and story development. It would fit into the New Adult genre that is burgeoning because it touches on Jade’s psychological maturing but revels more in the mishaps and the comedic uplifting aspects of the narrative.

A loosely woven story of family, set mainly in RichmondThe Sunday Times 9.6.24 featured an interview with the author about Scripted and flagged the issue of famous people actually authoring novels by themselves. They asserted that “Cotton wrote it herself” (bravo) but it is a big issue around ghost writing authorship in the publishing industry, when it comes to people famous for activities in other spheres. Interestingly, in the on-line version of the article, which you can read here, that line has been dropped.

I read this book for the Grazia Book Club and this was my summary:

Jade, who is in her early 30s, has her life mapped out – literally. She has spent her life dodging barbed bullets from her family and she gradually realises her life doesn’t have to be like this and her assertive self comes to the fore.

Although the author has written several books, this is her first novel. It is a loosely woven exploration of family dynamics and psychological awakening and probably would have benefitted from a more robust editorial hand.

I was charmed to discover that in the Princess of Wales Conservatory (Jade takes her nieces to Kew Gardens) there are resident reptiles, referred to in the novel as a chameleon but in real life there is a small colony of Chinese Water Dragons. I love it when you learn things in novels!

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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