Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Chloe Healy, Random House UK, Cornerstone, and NetGalley.Blurb (from Goodreads):
Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back. Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street. Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Chloe Healy, Random House UK, Cornerstone, and NetGalley.)
“Everyone knows everything about being born, and no one knows anything about being dead.”
Where to start with this book? It was a little bit strange, and a little bit funny in places, and the characters were quite strange too.
“'In heaven, you hang out with God and Jimi Hendrix, and you get to eat doughnuts whenever you want. In hell, you have to uh… do the Macarena. Forever. To that ‘Grease Megamix’'
'Where do you go if you’re good and bad?'
'What? I don’t know. IKEA?'”
There were 3 main characters in this book – Millie – a seven year old girl, Karl – an elderly man who can touch type, and Agatha – an old lady who liked to shout a lot, and not leave her house.
“Stop molesting my fence!”
I felt quite sorry for Millie, not only had she had to deal with the death of her father, but to then be abandoned by her mother was just awful. How anyone could abandon their 7-year-old daughter in a department store was just beyond me.
“She wasn’t to know that after recording twenty-seven assorted creatures in her Book of Dead Things – Spider, The Bird, Grandma, next door’s cat Gertrude, among others – her dad would be a Dead Thing too.”
Karl was a bit of an odd character, but it seemed obvious how much he missed his dead wife. I also felt sorry for him because his family seemed to not want him, and he felt he hadn’t really done anything with his life.
“He ripped a marker off the clipboard that sat at the end of his bed and wrote, Karl The Touch Typist Wuz ‘Ere, in shaky letters, hugely, on the wall above his bed.”
Agatha was another odd character. I couldn’t work out whether she had ever loved her dead husband, or why she had decided to barricade herself in her house for 7 years. The constant shouting was a bit weird too, and the talk about penises was a little shocking as well.
“Never trust a woman skinnier that you! Write that down!”
The storyline in this revolved around these three people getting together and trying to track down Millie’s missing mother, whether she wanted to be found or not. And the way they came to know each other, and the adventures they had along the way. I can’t say I really enjoyed these adventures, but I did enjoy some of the weird things these characters said, and the strange things they did!
“’Can I go explore?’ she whispers.
‘Sure,’ Karl whispers back. Just don’t talk to strange men.
‘You’re a strange man.’
Karl thinks about this. ‘Other ones.’”
The ending to this wasn’t brilliant in my opinion, I felt like there were too many loose threads left, and I didn’t get the sort of closure I’d have liked. I also found the ’10 years from now’ bit at the end a bit depressing really.
"Everyone knows that everyone else has a crying face, just as they all have an orgasm face, but they are on The List Of Faces No One Sees."
6 out of 10