Thaw, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Ruth is thirty two years old and doesn't know if she wants to be thirty three.

Her meticulously-ordered lonely life as a microbiologist is starved of pleasure and devoid of meaning.

She decides to give herself three months to decide whether or not to end her life, and we read her daily diary as she struggles to make sense of her past and grapples with the pain of the present. "Thaw" explores what makes any of our lives worth living.

Can Red, the eccentric Russian artist Ruth commissions to paint her portrait, find a way to warm her frozen heart?


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Ruth doesn't know if she wants to live or die, so she gives herself 92 days to think about it, choosing to mull over her final decision by writing a diary. Some days are better than others, but just as she is picking herself up and dusting herself down, her father is in a car accident. Now they may never reconcile their differences. And her will to stop cutting herself wavers.Day-by-day Ruth shares her suffering for all to see, as if when she dies it will be a kind of explanation for what she has done. Yet, unbeknown to her, her diary writing also becomes a form of her own therapy. Especially when she decides to "live each day as it's her last" because it almost is. Thinking along the lines that nothing really matters if she is going to die anyway is a surefire way to stop worrying about what others think while dealing with difficult situations. But it's a viscous circle. The more she enjoys life and the people around her, the more reasons she has to end it all -- before they leave her and it all goes terribly wrong.Over time, Ruth learns so much about herself through other relationships. A couple of times she even proves to herself that good things do come when you least expect it, and from the strangest of places. But is it enough, really enough, to convince Ruth to change her mind when she gets to that last page of her diary and reaches her final destination, and must finally decide whether it is all worth it? Has she really got a life worth living for?On one hand it starts as you would expect a book of this subject to, depressing and tinged, no loaded, with sadness. But it's not as simple as that. Thaw has much more meaning beyond the emotional and physical surface scars of which Ruth burdens herself with. Yes, I could sense her helplessness and desperation, especially through her need to concentrate on the physical (self-harming) to help her forget her emotional pain. On the other hand, this was also a very uplifting book, where beautiful discoveries are made during Ruth's search for that all encompassing magic answer that will make her world better. It may not be enough to keep Ruth going, but whatever the outcome, what I learnt from Ruth's problems and how she chooses to deal with them will resonate with me for a very long time. I truly believe to struggle is to be human, and Thaw proves this in a way which I can only describe as a lesson in being human. Above all, Fiona Robyn reminds us all that no one is perfect and no one should live their life worried about what others may or may not think. You only have one life, enjoy it!

Review by

The heart-wrenching tale of Ruth. Ruth is not really sure she wants to carry on living, and gives herself 3 months to decide. This book is the journal she writes as "evidence" for her decision.It is a roller coaster three months, as we feel her pain, and along the way the pain she discovers in others.An unsatisfactory ending though.

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