Jo Walton's My Real Children is a mind-trip of a novel, reminiscent of the movie Sliding Doors but without all the rom-com.
Patricia Cowan wakes up one morning in a nursing home. It's 2015 and according to Patricia's charts, she is "V.C." or "very confused". She knows who she is. She knows she was born in 1926. She knows her life, and yet, she doesn't. At one point in her life, Patricia made a choice. She said "yes". But at that same point, she said "no", and her life diverged into two lives. Now Patricia can't remember which one was real and which children visiting her are her real children.
This isn't just a story of one woman's two lives. It's also a story of two worlds very different from the reality readers are living in. These are fictional worlds where President Kennedy doesn't get assassinated, where Prince Charles marries Camilla the first time, where the Russians beat the United States to the moon. It almost makes the reader wonder if these are memories of a confused old woman or if the reader is the one who is confused. You keep looking for things that are real, that you KNOW, so that you can latch onto something and say, "Well, this one is the real one." But there's nothing!
It's a very interesting and captivating novel. I think it would make a great read for a book club. Lots of discussion potential!!
My Real Children is published by Tor and is on bookstore shelves now. I received a free review copy at Book Expo America with no obligation to review.