Point of View’s, Tone, and Meaning

Cover of Lisa Jewell’s novel: The Girls in The Garden

“I wish I had a different dad,” Grace said.

“Oh, Grace, that’s so unfair…”

“No. It’s not unfair. It’s true. I wish I had a normal dad.”

“But then you wouldn’t exist. You and Pip. You wouldn’t be here.”

“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t know, would I? So it wouldn’t matter.”

– The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

This excerpt from Lisa Jewell’s novel, The girls in the Garden, is written from the point of view of Clare, the mother of Grace. Clare’s husband and Grace’s dad, Chris, suffers a psychotic break and burns their house down. Chris ends up at a mental facility for treatment and Clare is forced to deal with relocating her family and starting over after the scandal. The author writes each of her chapters in different points of view and I find it very interesting that Jewell chose to write this scene in Clare’s point of view instead of Grace’s, and the meaning that writing it in this point of view gives it versus how any other point of view could change the meaning of the scene. This scene has a pretty big impact in my opinion because it’s clear how children are often underestimated in their thinking and analytical capabilities of situations. Grace expresses that she wants a dad that isn’t crazy and Clare reasons that if Grace had a different dad neither grace nor her sister, Pip, would exist, thinking that the love for her sister will change her mind. On the contrary, Grace counters that in this parallel universe where she has a different dad she wouldn’t be aware of anything she would be missing out on just like she isn’t now so it doesn’t really matter. To me this is intricate thinking for a 12 year old and was captivated enough to highlight Grace’s thinking. I also find interesting that Jewell didn’t write this in Grace’s point of view to see the child’s logic behind her thoughts and reasonings. I however, like that Jewell wrote it in a mother’s point of view because it adds to the overall tone and mood of the chapter.