Oh my gosh. How can you write a book that makes someone enjoy it one second and then completely feel distraught at it the next? I mean that’s rhetorical of course, but that’s exactly how I feel. I stayed awake to finish it and ended up feeling completely grief-stricken by the end. Mike Gayle, that’s a compliment by the way.
I wrote about this book several times whilst I was reading it – the usual social media updates commenting on how it was such a good book as I was slowly making my way through it. Well, it’s a very rare occurence in the literary world but this booked turned for me extremely quickly. When you read it, you’ll probably know the point that it turned. Because the same thing will likely happen to you. Let me explain…
This book is an amazing story of families becoming reunited. Incredible. Powerful. Emotional. Poignant. All those usual words that we use to describe these momentous occasions. The first half is full of strength, of survival against the odds, and of two very different worlds for two very different people. I felt good about the first half. I felt positive, hopeful even… We read the present day from the perspectives of the main characters, Noah and Kerry, we’re given insight into their daily lives, their personal emotions and the battles they are facing.
Then Mike Gayle does something. Through Noah’s narration, Kerry tells us of something life-changing. It’s something we as the readers, as the people given insight into these two lives, don’t even know about. It’s life-changing. Did I already say that? When I read those words in the book, they thumped right through my heart. They literally made my heart pound. I had to close the book. Then I had to open it again, to read on and find out exactly what was happening. The book had turned. And yet it was still the same book – a story about survival, two very different worlds, emotional, poignant… but my gosh the feelings had changed into something completely different.
To give away more than this would be to spoil the book for you. It’s such a good book that you deserve to embark on Noah and Kerry’s journey yourself, and let this book hit you in the weak spots most appropriate to your emotions. There are moments in this book that will turn you from laughing out loud, to having tears stream down your face. The beauty of it is that Mike Gayle has once again created an extremely clever and thought-provoking story.