A Patchwork of Thought by Barbara Bevilacqua

Sometimes I really rejoice in what epublishing can achieve.  A Patchwork of Thought would never (in my opinion) get a mainstream publishing deal – and certainly not without seriously compromising just what makes it such a unique and interesting piece of writing.

The woman telling the story could be anyone and yet it is her unique voice that pulls you into the narrative.  The story is disjointed – deliberately – to show the effect of building, losing and rebuilding an ‘identity’ or sense of self belief either side of a cataclysmic event.

‘To find the truth in the moment you must first find the truth in yourself.’ This is one of many such reflections and observations which pepper the narrative, giving the reader pause for thought.

Now one could posit that the‘epiphany’ or ‘spiritual rebirth’ which happens around age 30 is a mental breakdown, or an intense moment of spiritual enlightenment, but it is also familiar as a ‘rites of passage’ for most if not every woman as they leave their twenties and enter their thirties.  The questions are universal – how do I find ‘the One’?  ‘Is he the One?’ ‘Should I be looking for the One?’  ‘Who am I?’ ‘What is the purpose of life in general and my life in particular.’  All these deep questions are explored through the patchwork effect of jumping back and forth through memory and experience in a particular life which may be fiction or may not.

A life which has been fuelled by recreational drug use, alcohol abuse and looking for love in all the wrong places is ripe for re-examination and the narrator is challenged with trying to find out how you make your life work, how you know what choices  to make.  The narrator is waiting to find a soul-mate and to know herself. She is constantly striving, challenging and searching and on both sides of the ‘epiphany’ her biggest battle is an inner one. The narrator seeks spiritual enlightenment on a personal level, substituting meditation for substances but the struggle in many ways remains the same.

I was particularly interested by the structural complexity within this seemingly quite simple story.  For example, the structure in on one level held together like a pack of Tarot cards, with each section being a specific card which I found very thought provoking. The structure is revealed on another level as well., each section begins with a sort of mantra:  Our lives are our thoughts woven together to create a story. This is one version of that story.’ And the end of each section offers a specific reflection on what has been learned through the episode or the version. That’s really clever. Shows real insight and holds together what otherwise might seem disparate, directionless even. Whether life is choice or destiny is debated through story and structure and I am in awe of the self-awareness and self-reflection illustrated in the narrative. Whether it is fundamentally that of the writer or the narrator is unimportant because that’s part of the narrative approach.  If you ask too many questions then you are simply creating your own version of the story.  It’s a narrative of thought, reflection and recognition and this is both its power and its beauty.  I really loved it for its strength, its depth, its bravery, its humanity and yes, at times, its humour.

Reviewed  by Cally Phillips

Available in Kindle format

Find out more about Barbara Bevilacqua