#BookReview THE BOOK OF FORM AND EMPTINESS by RUTH OZEKI


ABOUT THE BOOK

A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-finalist author of A Tale for the Time Being

After the tragic death of his beloved musician father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house–a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.

At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world, where “things happen.” He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.

And he meets his very own Book–a talking thing–who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki–bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.


PUBLISHED BY CANONGATE BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK
Amazon

MY REVIEW


Poignant, emotional, inventive – I think those words best sum up this reading experience! It has one of the most novel ways of telling the story via 2 narrators! Young Benny who is at the heart of the story, alongside the voice of ‘the book’! And Benny hears the book telling his story too which leads to some brilliant exchanges between the two of them and it just makes reading their story even more captivating.

Young Benny is dealing with the sudden death of his father and this trauma leads to him starting to hear voices. And not just any voices, but the thoughts and feelings of everyday items that crowd his mind leading to those around him worry as to what is wrong with him. His mother tries her best to be there for her son, but she’s dealing with her own grief and her hoarding starts to spiral out of control. There’s a lot of exploration of mental health in this story and the author has approached the subjects with compassion and care.

It is a very difficult book to review as there’s so many threads to it, but it all boils down to humans and their fragility. Their strength. Their quirks. And the ways that people find comfort, be that in the pages of a book or through connecting with others.

Your heart just breaks for Benny at times as there’s nobody around who understands what he’s going through. But he finds a strength somewhere deep down to try and make sense of it on his own, while watching his mother go through her issues. There’s a clear message throughout about decluttering/letting go of the past to help clear your mind and this comes across loud and clear in a very creative way.

It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measures and is one of those books where the characters stay with you long after the final page. Wonderful!


★★★★★

#BookReview RAMBLE BOOK by ADAM BUXTON #Audiobook


ABOUT THE BOOK


Ramble
/ˈramb(ə)l/

Verb1. walk for pleasure in the countryside.‘Dr Buckles and Rosie the dog love rambling in the countryside.’
2. talk or write at length in a confused or inconsequential way.‘Adam rambles on about lots of consequential, compelling and personal matters in his tender, insightful, hilarious and totally unconfused memoir, Ramble Book.’

Ramble Book is about parenthood, boarding-school trauma, arguing with your partner, bad parties, confrontations on trains, friendship, wanting to fit in, growing up in the ’80s, dead dads, teenage sexual anxiety, failed artistic endeavours, being a David Bowie fan and how everything you read, watch and listen to as a child forms a part of the adult you become.


PUBLISHED BY MUDLARK

PURCHASE LINK


Amazon

MY REVIEW


I listened to the audio version of this book – and I recommend you do the same!!

Just wonderful!! It made me laugh and cry in equal measures and was just a walk down memory lane of the 70’s and 80’s in terms of music, films, and life memories that really struck a chord with me being a very similar age as Adam! He recalls his childhood, schooldays, family life into adulthood and he’s just so honest and endearing you can’t help but love every minute of his ramblings! It is just like listening to an old friend and feels very much like a long podcast episode! He even makes his own jingles to use throughout and then there’s a lovely bonus podcast episode at the end featuring Joe!

And alongside the funny stuff, there’s the emotional tale of his father who moved in with Adam and his family as he became ill, and it’s so touching and made my eyes leak a lot as he shares the reality of seeing a parent pass away.

An utterly brilliant book! Go listen to it… NOW!!


★★★★★

#BookReview BEYOND GREY by ELLA COOK

ABOUT THE BOOK


Have the tissues ready for this beautifully written, emotional debut novel.

What if you became an outsider in your own life?
Jennifer Hughes doesn’t have an extraordinary life, but that doesn’t matter – she loves her family and enjoys her job as a teacher. In her eyes, her unextraordinary life is utterly perfect.

But then, in the blink of an eye, Jennifer finds herself cut off from everything she knew and loved, confined to a strange new world and forced to watch from a distance as her family and friends pick up the pieces.

Can Jennifer hold her perfect life together, even though she’s not living it herself?


PUBLISHED BY CHOC LIT


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Grey-Ella-Cook-ebook/dp/B08N6X9J98/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/beyond-grey

Apple https://books.apple.com/gb/book/beyond-grey/id1539922309?itsct=books_toolbox&itscg=30200&at=11lNBs&ct=books_beyond_grey&ls=1 

Google https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Ella_Cook_Beyond_Grey?id=_JcJEAAAQBAJ 

Nook https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beyond-grey-ella-cook/1138189107?ean=2940162821823 

MY REVIEW

This was a really touching and emotional read that explores the possibility of a loved one watching over you after they’ve passed, and trying to help you get back on the path of living a happy life despite being overwhelmed by grief and not being able to see a way forward.

Jennifer is killed in a car crash and the rest of her family survive so the story is told from her point of view, as well as through the eyes of her family left behind.  Both viewpoints share that anger, the shock, the disbelief in how their lives have changed and the battles that lay ahead.  

From her point of view, you sense her frustration at the regrets, the injustice of it all and then the suffering of having to watch over her family as they try and move on.  Her husband David is the one who struggles the most and watching him return home without Jen was heartbreaking.  All those reminders of her dotted around, knowing she’ll never return.

What gives him comfort is the feeling that she is watching over him, even if his kids think he’s going mad with the way he starts acting, and that was the most touching thing about the story!  Those little things that make us feel like our guardian angel is taking care of things and keeping an eye out for us – just having that feeling that you’re not alone make all the difference.

A really striking story that will bring a tear to your eye and a warm glow to your heart!

★★★★

#BookReview THE BELOVED CHILDREN by TINA JACKSON @fahrenheitpress #TheBelovedChildren

ABOUT THE BOOK


“There is some really atmospheric storytelling and joyful language at play here, with Jackson as an entertaining mistress of ceremonies.” – Ben East, The Observer

What can we say about this book from Tina Jackson except that it’s something very special indeed.

Three young women; Chrysanthemum, Rose & Orage are thrown together on the stage of Fankes’ Theatre during the closing days of the Second World War performing as The Three Graces.

It’s there they come under the spell of wardrobe mistresses Dolores and Janna – a chance encounter that will guide and change all of their fates forever.

Set in the dying days of vaudeville theatre and laced with mysticism, fortune tellers, ghosts, and evocative descriptions of the closing days of the War – The Beloved Children will literally make you laugh out loud and perhaps even shed the odd tear.

The Beloved Children is wise, funny, heart-breaking, joyous, poignant, and entirely entirely enthralling.

Tina Jackson has conjured characters that you will fall unapologetically in love with and placed them in a world that you won’t want to leave.

If any Fahrenheit book is ever going to be nominated for The Booker Prize it’ll be this one.

“This book genuinely weaves a spell around the reader and once you make friends with Janna, Dolores, and The Three Graces you’ll never want to be without them in your life again.”

PUBLISHED BY FAHRENHEIT PRESS

PURCHASE LINK

PUBLISHER WEBSITE

MY REVIEW

What a special little book this turned out to be! I’m always delighted to find a little gem of a story and if you’re looking for something that’s a little bit magical, emotional, funny and imaginative then look no further!

Set around the three characters of Rose, Chrysanthemum and Orage whose paths cross when they are all young girls auditioning for a theatre show, this is their story of how they became family and where life took them all. They are all very different personalities but they click and I just loved how they looked out for one another during their time at the theatre, through love, disappointments, secrets and lots more!

This starts out at the end of the war and you just can just picture life backstage at the theatre and it really brings back those ‘old days’ theatre feels! It was so easy to picture in your mind as you followed the story unfold – you could almost smell that dusky scent and hear the performers preparing to go on stage.

As the girls grow up into women, life throws them different curveballs and as you become more involved with them as characters then it did get quite emotional to see what they had to go through. There are many twists in their life journeys, and the always imposing characters of Dolores and Janna were always around to whip them into shape!

The story also had the viewpoint of 60 years later, with Rose and Chrysanthemum looking back on their lives together – the memories of special moments shared and troubled times faced – it was very difficult not to fall in love with these characters as they all went through so much and made them realise the importance of the roles that they all played in the life on one another. The real definition of the dysfunctional family that they became to one another!

One of my books of 2020!! Glorious stuff!!

★★★★★

My thanks to the team at Fahrenheit for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview IN THE SWEEP OF THE BAY by CATH BARTON

ABOUT THE BOOK


This lyrical, warm-hearted tale explores marriage, love, and longing, set against the majestic backdrop of Morecambe Bay, the Lakeland Fells, and the faded splendour of the Midland Hotel.

Ted Marshall meets Rene in the dance halls of Morecambe and they marry during the frail optimism of the 1950s. They adopt the roles expected of man and wife at the time: he the breadwinner at the family ceramics firm, and she the loyal housewife, but as the years go by, they both find themselves wishing for more…

After Ted survives a heart attack, both see it as a new beginning… but can a faded love like theirs ever be rekindled?

Cath Barton lives in Abergavenny. She won the New Welsh Writing AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella in 2017 for The Plankton Collector, which was published in September 2018 by New Welsh Review under their Rarebyte imprint. She also writes short stories and flash fiction and, with her critical writing, is a regular contributor to Wales Arts Review. In the Sweep of the Bay is her second novella.


PUBLISHED BY LOUISE WALTERS BOOKS


PURCHASE LINKS

Publisher Website

Amazon

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

For a book that just has over 100 pages, this was pure quality! It’s a gentle, quietly written book with a devastating exploration into a marriage. How time spent with the one you love often becomes a duty, just going through the motions, settling into a routine and not wanting to rock the boat.

I loved how this was full of those little observations that we often take for granted and miss, you become that fly on the wall as you look back at Ted and Rene as their life passes them by. The highs and the many lows. The trials and tribulations that face us all and how we should take time to treasure the good moments instead of dwelling on the bad!

Watching this couple over the years often left me with an overwhelming sadness! Their union seemed to become a marriage of resentment and bitterness and I found the tears falling down my face at certain points as you just felt so sad for them both and what their lives had become. Even more so when their daughter was going through their possessions and realising just how little she knew about her parents and that brings home that we often don’t realise how much we don’t know about those closest to us.

Being set from the 50’s onwards really showed the attitudes of those towards marriage back then. The fact that the woman was just expected to give up her life for her husband and future children, despite the life she was missing out on … she just kept quiet and let the bitterness build up inside her. You just wanted her to scream or shout – just to react and let her feelings out!

This is an exquisite little novella – small in stature, but huge in style and impact!!

★★★★★

#BookReview WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS by JOE HEAP

ABOUT THE BOOK


This is the story of Ella.
And Robert.
And of all the things they should have said, but never did.

Through seven key moments and seven key people their journey intertwines.

From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses. Of those who come in to our lives and leave it too soon. And of those who stay with you forever…

PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

This was such a unique and touching story, that I’m still thinking of Ella and her life right now, many days after I’d finished the book! I loved the distinctive way in which the story is told and how it helps you connect with Ella and the experiences she had in her lifetime.

From the traumatic opening, the story never lets up on emotion and drama. You get the frustrations and despair that Ella is feeling now in her current situation where she is on a boat which is starting to sink, and has to look our for her grandchild, the grandchild she can’t remember the name of because she is showing signs of dementia. In her toughest times she is ‘visited’ by the memories of those in her past that meant so much to her and shaped her life from childhood to adulthood.

As she looks back, she is reminded of those who had such an impact on her life and these flashbacks to key moments in her life just went to show how different events changed the course of her life. The ‘what if’ moments, the missed opportunites, the quirks of fate that drew different people into her life at testing times. Something we all experience but it’s not often til later in life that we truly see how important, or not!, an encounter or experience is.

I loved how it really showed that just when you think life is going to go one way, then there’s often a curveball to change the trajectory of things. As she moves away and moves to London to become a session musician, then her life sees her making some bad choices and you fear the worst for her, but the world works in mysterious ways and the past always finds a way of reminding her of what is important to her.

Her life is full of many highs, and many lows and it was such an emotional experience to relive crucial moments and episodes in her life, added to the drama of what she is experiencing in the present and I have to admit, there were tears! Many tears!! It’s a story you just get so involved in and seems to remind you to take note of those people who keep appearing in your own story at difficult times.

A staggeringly inventive and emotional read!

★★★★★

#BOOKREVIEW THE LAST PAPER CRANE by KERRY DREWERY #TheLastPaperCrane

ABOUT THE BOOK

One thousand paper cranes to achieve your heart’s desire.

1945, Hiroshima: Ichiro is a teenage boy relaxing at home with his friend Hiro. Moments later there is a blinding fl ash as the horrifi c nuclear bomb is dropped. With great bravery the two boys fi nd Hiro’s fi veyear-old sister Keiko in the devastated and blasted landscape. With Hiro succumbing to his wounds, Ichiro
is now the only one who can take care of Keiko. But in the chaos Ichiro loses her when he sets off to fi nd help.

Seventy years later, the loss of Keiko and his broken promise to his dying friend are haunƟ ng the old man’s fading years. Mizuki, his grandaughter, is determined to help him. As the Japanese legend goes, if you have the patience to fold 1,000 paper cranes, you will fi nd your heart’s desire; and it turns out her grandfather has only one more origami crane to fold…

Narrated in a compelling mix of straight straight narrative,
free verse and haiku poems, this is a haunting and powerful novel of courage and survival, with full-page illustrations by Natsko Seki. 

PUBLISHED BY HOT KEY BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

A truly stunning book! Not only in the subject matter explored but in the style it is written. Part poetry, part conventional storytelling, I found it to be both heartbreaking and full of hope. It shows the power of the kindness of others, and the toll it can take if a promise is felt it isn’t kept.

Set in both contemporary Japan and in Hiroshima in 1945, it follows the story of Ichiro. In the present he’s an elderly man, haunted by the past and grieving the loss of his wife. The only woman who he’d shared stories with and now he feels alone and unable to cope with the pain his heart is feeling. His granddaughter, Mizuki, notices how broken he seems and just wants to help and he finally opens up and tells her of his experiences as a young man living in Hiroshima before, during and after the horrific atomic bomb was dropped.

The attention to detail and the amount of research that has gone in to this book appears to be staggering. The sights, the sounds of everyday life being ripped away from everyone in Hiroshima that day and the aftermath of the survivors trying to get help, making promises to others was just heartbreaking to read about. Ichiro feels such disorientation as he tries to make sense of what he sees around him on that fateful day – just a boy of 17 having to confront such horrific sights. He finds his friend Hiro, along with his 5 year old sister and you can only begin to imagine their state of mind as they set off to try and find medical help.

In the present time, the story is told in poetry form, and is simply beautiful. The bond between Mizuki and her grandfather is so strong, so her willingness to help try and heal him, to find the closure he so wanted, was so emotional and touching. It really showed the importance of hope and having someone to talk to, to share stories and thoughts.

The narrative is also beautifully displayed on each page, and along with the striking illustrations it just really adds to the whole reading experience and makes it totally immersive. I had tears in my eyes by the end and I just adored every page. There’s even a guide at the back to making your own paper crane, so central to the plot of the story and was a fitting addition to the whole experience.

An unforgettable read! Highly recommended!!

★★★★★

#BookReview MY PEAR-SHAPED LIFE by CARMEL HARRINGTON #MyPearShapedLife

ABOUT THE BOOK

This is a joyful, uplifting book for those of us who sometimes wake up and feel we’re not good enough. Spoiler alert: we are!

Meet Greta.

She’s funny.

She’s flawed.

She’s hiding so much behind her big smile she’s forgotten who she is.

But Greta is about to discover that the key to being happy is…being you.

Greta Gale has played the part of the funny fat one her entire life, hiding her insecurities behind a big smile. But size doesn’t matter when you can laugh at yourself, right?
Until Greta realises she’s the only one not laughing. And deep down, she’s not sure if she’ll ever laugh again.

But with her world feeling like it’s falling down around her, Greta is about to discover she’s stronger than she feels. And that sometimes the best moments in life come when it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped…

PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS

PURCHASE LINKS – e-book format – out now

Amazon

hive.co.uk

paperback – out 16th April 2020

MY REVIEW

I adore Greta!! She is me! She is you! That woman who is smiley on the outside, pretending life is sweet and making fun of herself, but full of crippling doubts on the inside and wishing the pain would just go away. And what the author has done brilliantly in this book is use that connection to us always beating ourselves up that we’re not good enough, and we get what we deserve… when that’s not the case. We are worthy and we need to be true to ourselves to find that happy place we all deserve to live in.

Greta comes from a ‘thin’ family – that’s how she sees it as a woman of a fuller figure, and she seems to react well to the digs and ‘banter’ but beneath the smiles she’s hurting and she’s playing a dangerous game with her health. It’s only when things go too far that her family find out the severity of the situation and she’s forced to face up to how her life is spiralling out of control.

The saving grace in her life is her namesake, Dr Greta Gayle, a hugely successful American lifestyle guru, who she is obsessed with due to them sharing the same name. It’s the only thing they have in common, but she always seems to find inspiration from the Dr and her Instagram posts when she needs guidance.

While in rehab she is stripped away from her crutches in life, and that makes things begin to fall into place for her. Why has she been so afraid to be herself? What is she hiding from? It’s often at our lowest points that life becomes a little clearer and she is forced to make changes in her way of thinking thanks to a therapist and the others she meets while in there. She sees she’s not alone in feeling a failure, or useless, or out of place and that makes her feel a little more connected.

What follows is a trip to America with her beloved Uncle, and both of them find out a lot about themselves while over there and facing up to their pasts. He has lived his life with regrets too so thinks this is the perfect opportunity for both of them to live a little, and I loved their bond and how much they meant to one another. And I loved the nods to The Wizard of Oz throughout!! Read the book and you’ll find out more!

It’s so much easier to say ‘be yourself’ than actually go through with it, and this book perfectly demonstrates that struggle we all go through of trying to fit in, losing sight of who we are and the reliance of outside influences to get us through the day. In Greta, there’s a character who is funny, pretty, smart but yet she can only see her size, and following her on her often painful journey was uplifting, emotional and a delight to be part of! Highly recommended!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour THE GLITTERING HOUR by IONA GREY #BookReview #RandomThingsTours #TheGlitteringHour @Iona_Grey @simonschusterUK

A huge delight to be the stop today on the Blog Tour for the beautiful THE GLITTERING HOUR by IONA GREY. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and for putting the tour together, and letting me be part of it all!

17th October 2019 | Paperback Original | £8.99

 ‘An epic story of joyous hedonism and desperate heartache. Just beautiful’ CATHERINE ISAAC 

‘Stunning’ VERONICA HENRY 

‘Gorgeously written … I loved it’ JILL MANSELL

 ‘An enchanting, evocative read  ‘THE SUN 

1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them. Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself. 

When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last. But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules. By the end of that summer everything has changed. A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future.

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

whsmith

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in rural Cheshire with her husband and three daughters. She tweets @iona_grey.

MY REVIEW

A book that made time reading it fly by  and totally transported me back in time and into the lives of Selina and Lawrence, who were from totally diffeent backgrounds but for one summer circumstances brought them together.  And that Summer has big consequences for little Alice 10 years later, and it was mesmerizing to see what transpired through her eyes and the letters she uncovered.

In 1925 the war is over and Selina is living a footloose and fancy free life! She is on the ‘bright young things’ and her biggest struggles in life are deciding what to wear to the numerous parties she frequents!  One of the parties she’s at is a treasure hunt party and while she’s out with her friends deciphering the clues, she finds herself taking care of an animal and gets help from Lawrence. He’s a struggling artist who is aware of who she is, but goes out of his way to help her that night and that kindness really strikes a chord with her and she can’t stop thinking about him.  She finds herself spotting him at various exhibitions and parties and the more time they spend together, the more they find they can’t live without one another – despite it not being the done thing considering their backgrounds.  Selina has never been one to follow the rules anyway so any chance she gets to spend time with him, she grabs it!

Fast forward 10 years and we follow the story of Alice, who is 10 and living with her grandparents at Blackwood Hall. Her life is one of being left alone, aloof grandparents and governesses, and she  clings to the letters that her mother sends her while she’s away on business with her father. Her mother sets her a treasure hunt through the letters in the form of riddles to help her understand who she is and where she comes from as she gets to see the events of 1925 played out through memories of her mother.

The switching of timelines is perfectly played out throughout this story.  And it really adds to the emotional aspect that runs from the first page to last.  You can’t help but feel sad for Alice who is seemingly so alone and just wants the comfort of her family.  The riddles she is set are wonderful for her inquisitive mind though and gives her hope that she’ll be back with her family soon.

Events of 1925 aren’t all fun and games though and it was so fascinating to see the light and dark aspects of what appeared to have been so glamorous and carefree.  As more revelations of what happened over that summer and the years after come to light, I was enthralled to see just how the stories would resolve and didn’t realise just how emotionally I had become attached to Alice in her journey of discovery.  Captivating!

★★★★★

#BookReview After The End by Clare Mackintosh

ABOUT THE BOOK

Max and Pip are the strongest couple you know. They’re best friends, lovers—unshakable. But then their son gets sick and the doctors put the question of his survival into their hands. For the first time, Max and Pip can’t agree. They each want a different future for their son.

What if they could have both?

A gripping and propulsive exploration of love, marriage, parenthood, and the road not taken, After the End brings one unforgettable family from unimaginable loss to a surprising, satisfying, and redemptive ending and the life they are fated to find. With the emotional power of Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, Mackintosh helps us to see that sometimes the end is just another beginning

PUBLISHED BY SPHERE

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK 

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

This was a very emotive story that cleverly explores the ‘what if’s’ around a married couple dealing with their terminally ill son but disagreeing on the course of treatment for him. The alternate storylines threw me a little bit when I first started reading them, but it soon made perfect sense in allowing the story to be told in this way and really added to your experience of reading as you’d put yourself in that position and wonder what you’d do in a similar position.

Max and Pip are a happily married couple who should be living life to the fullest with their son Dylan, but he’s in hospital with a brain tumour so his life is medication, tube feeding and being made ‘comfortable’. Pip is by his side constantly – her world is the hospital and the other parents and children on the ward – her husband is still working flying back to the US on and off, whilst still consumed by thoughts of his son. When the news about his condition worsens, the split in the outlook of Max and Pip becomes clear – what’s best for Dylan? How do you decide if you can’t agree? So a court case is the way forward…

The story then splits to the alternate timelines – what would happen if Pip got her way to let him die with dignity? and what would happen if Max got his wish to try new treatments in the US? This opens up a great insight into how life could turn out in both scenarios and really showed that there is no real right or wrong in such a tragic situation.

WE also get the viewpoint of Laila, a Dr working at the hospital and dealing with Dylan and how he impact affects her and I really liked seeing this different persepective from someone who has to deal professionally but can’t help but get emotionally attached.

It also brought to light the impact that the role of the media plays – how the public take sides in matters such as these – the abuse that the parents could receive from people who didn’t know all the facts but would make their minds up from what they read in the papers or saw on TV.

I was totally absorbed in this story and found the way the different outcomes were allowed to play out was quite refreshing in the way that it let you see the ‘after’ story evolve, often in ways I didn’t expect. A very moving story.

★★★★