In 2017, Simon Moreton’s father fell suddenly ill and died. His death sent the author back to his childhood home in rural Shropshire trying to process his grief by revisiting his family’s time as transplants to the countryside. In a memoir that that combines prose, illustration, photos, archival texts, and more, WHERE? weaves a gentle story that slips and slides in time and geography, creating connections across geographies, histories, families, times, and circumstance all to answer the question – ‘where are you from?’
PUBLISHED BY LITTLE TOLLER
This a personal but relatable collection of memories triggered by the loss of a father, and it’s perfectly poignant and reflective as the author returns home to the area he grew up in and is just overwhelmed with recollections of the past and the life of his father.
Told in a mixed media way, you are transported back via illustrations, prose, maps, photos, even diary entries from when he was a child and it strikes a chord with so many perceptions that you find yourself thinking about your own childhood.
It also recollects the devastation that a cancer diagnosis provokes in a family, and how they all felt when his father was initially diagnosed and how we all deal with the prognosis, followed by the devastation of death and how grief affects us all in different way.
I loved the way the author shared his thoughts and feelings and seeing how your mind works when you’re processing such bad news. Those little memories locked away in your head of a special time in your life that mean so much and how the person you’ve lost has impacted on your life in such a positive way and link you to an area for ever.
The author looks back at his childhood, how the area he lived in aided his love of nature and how his father worked the area, and included the local landmarks that were so prominent in his mind.
This is an ode to Shropshire, an ode to family and how reconnecting with an area at a time of loss can become such a comfort and spark off so many memories. I thought it was beautifully written and the illustrations were a fabulous contrast in their black and white style, that helped portray the loss felt so well.
My thanks to Little Toller for the advanced copy, in return for a fair and honest review.