This will be the third book of Carrie Hope Fletchers that I am reviewing and while I’m a little late to the party on this one, I am beginning to adore her defined style of writing. Carrie seems to lead her novels with an interpretation of Magic Realism, which is a style we unfortunately rarely see these days. Her narrative, events and characters bring to mind the artistic delivery of an Isao Takahata movie, with as much magical optimism as there is social commentary.
As the saying goes, everyone has their own demons. Except in All That She Can See, Cherry Redgrave can actually see them. Throughout her life, she has been able to see shadowy monsters who follow their owners around, the physical manifestations of their largest emotions, her own being Loneliness. As Loneliness holds her close, an oddly endearing creature, she tries to use her powers for the better. However, when she meets Chase, she’s forced to realise her powers belong to something more complex than she could have ever imagined.
All That She Can See is an uplifting novel with enough tense and heart-gripping moments to kick your emotions about a bit, rather fittingly. It has equal parts Romance, Sadness and Comedy to satisfy your every emotional need, and would be particularly appealing to fellow writers and Enneagram type 2’s. Those of us who feel odd at times for the way we see things in people others don’t seem to, or the way that we see the broken behind the mask and feel a need to help. It gives a story to the overly observant and spreads a message to everyone about the creatures that follow us in our daily lives, the way they influence us and the way that we, in turn, can control them.
Books and films of the past in this vein often come with a hazard of being a little hard to watch, being that they can be uncomfortably preachy, so sometimes the execution can be very difficult. All That She Can See very occasionally runs the risk of being a little expositional, but avoids it with enough stylism and enough, to be honest, sprinkled fatalism to keep it from being too positive. It sounds a little grumpy and grinchy to say a book can be too positive and I fully adore the odd corny, optimism in books and films but there is a significant line between Corny and Overly-positive. Once this line is crossed it can alienate the reader from believing in the possibility of its message, thus rendering it arguably defunct. All That She Can See, however, sticks to a polished moderation that fills our heart with hope and imagination.
Each character feels like it comes from the same universe as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but it is rounded enough in our own world that we can relate perfectly in one way or another to each one. We follow the story and nod our head continually, as we indulge ourselves in the fantasy but understand its real-world significance in our own life.
A book that presents the importance of self-care as a magical antidote to the alternative, it is, in itself, an act of self-care to read. As I flipped each page, closer to the characters, and more attached, I could feel my own Loneliness, Depression and Anxiety loosening their grips on my back. By the end, I found they were but little specs on the floor, not gone, but far more controllable.
Find your own creature, and soften it’s hold on you by reading All That She Can See!