Book Reviews

Book Review: Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down

‘Everywhere I go, I said, it’s like I never existed.’

Bodies of Light, page 141

In 2018, Maggie receives a Facebook message from an unknown man who claims to have known her when she was younger. This sets the motion to think about memories she hasn’t thought about for a while. Despite her best efforts to change her name & her self, can she truly outrun the past? 

BODIES OF LIGHT is a character-driven novel & follows the life of Maggie from when she is a young girl to a woman in her mid-forties. It follows her in foster care in Melbourne, all the way through to New Zealand & America. It’s about her trauma, her grief, her resilience & ability to grow despite the odds. Down’s characterisation is amazing. As a reader, you really get to know Maggie & it’s obvious that Down has thought out every little detail about Maggie before setting her free in the world. 

Some sections stood out to me more than others, probably because they have been on my mind in the last few months. She refers to “the shared vocabulary of memory” (p. 124) & how if you don’t have someone to talk about certain life experiences with, can you really believe it happened? What happens to those memories? 

I’d heard positive things about BODIES OF LIGHT without reading detailed reviews. I enjoyed reading this & following Maggie on her journey to the present. I was however expecting ‘the big, sad book’ as people kept referring to it & while it was sad, it didn’t leave me in tears. It did, however, give me hope, & that’s a good thing.

Book Details:

GenreLiterary Fiction
PublisherText Publishing
Publication Date28 September 2021

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