I’m going to try really hard not to gush about this book because I loved it so much. It’s a book about grief first and foremost, the author’s mother was killed and writing this book was a way of Davis dealing with that loss, which sounds like it would make it heavy and heartbreaking to read. In some parts it is heartbreaking, it’s told from three perspectives; Millie, who is seven, her Dad has died and her Mum abandons her in a department store; Karl the Touch Typist an 87 year old who escaped from his nursing home and is still grieving for his wife; and Agatha, who hasn’t left her home in seven years, she spends her time looking in the mirror and shouting at the people in the street.
Through some twist of fate the three meet and start on a cross country journey to find Millie’s Mum, which made me laugh out loud whilst making me cry big fat tears all at once. It’s whimsical and delightful, wise and poignant. As a debut author, Davis has been able to make some remarkable observations about human nature and how people react differently to grief. She manages to write Millie with a real insight into how children’s minds work, her string of notes (‘In Here Mum’) both sweet and sad. She also shows a real empathy in how she writes Karl and Agatha, making them much more realistic characters rather than simply ’old’.
In some parts it could be said that it is a bit cutesy and it does end quite abruptly, but as I reader I didn’t mind this too much, in fact as soon as I finished it I wanted to read it all over again, just in case I missed anything.