Jar Baby by Hayley Webster
I really enjoyed Jar Baby. It’s a thoroughly modern family saga about a young woman, Diana, whose famous fashion designer uncle dies abruptly in a helicopter crash. They had become estranged by this point, and Diana makes the difficult journey back towards the emotional turbulence of her very off-beat, wacky, famous and unknown, rich and poor, kind and mean, inane and engaging, extended family and their friends. Fame, of course, brings hangers-on. Uncle Rohan was so famous, even just being his niece brought unwanted attention for Diana.
I really grew to like Diana too. Troubled in her personal relationships, troubled by her decision to ditch the increasingly crazy life her odd family were making for her, and yet she comes out of this endearing story as the most level-headed and composed of them all. There are quite a few mysteries: what on earth happened to Drake, the man who molested her in childhood? What is the significance of the cape that arrives, a gift from her uncle that doesn’t reach her until after his death? Did he even like the woman, Stella, that he shared his life with? Diana certainly doesn’t. Or does she?
All of the characters have something to offer the reader, but Diana in particular is neatly drawn. She’s as confused and mixed up as the rest of us. She’s far from perfect, but I came away from Jar Baby happy to read a lot more about her, and a lot more from this subtle debut writer.