A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvette Edwards

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I came from a line of women who bore a single child and were dead before it’s eighteenth birthday

A Cupboard Full of Coats is the debut novel by Londoner Yvette Edwards. It is set over a weekend and examines both the happenings in the lead up to the murder of Jinx’s mother 16 years prior, as well as the feelings that were revisited.

I chose to read this book, as it came highly recommended by one of my book club friends. I was not sure what to expect as the title did not appear to have much relevance to the book. However, that was not the case at all. The cupboard full of coats symbolised each time Jinx’s mother was beaten by her new partner Red, as he bought her a new coat by way of an apology.

The flashback part of the book was set in the 1980s London as JInx was just about to sit her O Levels. 16 years later she is now a mother who appears to be suffering from an untreated post natal depression – as she willingly handed over the primary care of her son to his father.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and was gripped by what lay behind the guilt both Jinx and her companion on her trip down memory lane – Red’s best friend Lemon – played in the lead up to the murder. My only criticism of the book was the preoccupation in parts with shade. I appreciate that this is an important part of the Black experience worldwide, more so at the time the story was set, However, I do hope that one day we can have conversations beyond shade.

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