Ivo fell for her.
He fell for a girl he can’t get back.
Now he’s hoping for something.
While he waits he plays a game:
He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away.
He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her.
But he doesn’t have long.
And he still has one thing left to do …
It’s always really exciting to read a book that’s written by a local author especially a good one that’s been well promoted over social media so everyone’s talking about that book!
When our time comes what will we think of; what memories will we hold dear?
This is posed to Ivo by Sheila when she suggests he play the A – Z game to keep his mind busy and what he reminisces about is ultimately his unquestionable and undying love for Mia. Although it’s very late in the book when we find out what has actually happened as the memories don’t seem to fall in any particular chronological order.
Let me explain a little further….you see Ivo is in a hospice and Sheila is his nurse/carer but we don’t know this straight away. All our discoveries are made through Ivo’s memories and anecdotes about the relationships he has with his friends and family. Sheila is an absolute rock; we could all do with a Sheila in our lives! One of the nicest characters I’ve read in a long time. Whilst he’s in the hospice Ivo befriends a teenage girl, Amber and he tries to help her deal with a death in her family but its as if he’s trying to still control some elements of his life and his time remaining by being a strength to others.
The majority of the narrative comes in short, snappy and sharp sentences; quite often to the point with some reading like poetry particularly towards the end which I rather liked.
I particularly liked this quote; a lot of sense is in these lines but also a lot of heartbreak:
“It’s like the sequel to a film. I Love You and I Love You Too. You know the second one’s always going to be a predictable reworking of the first.”
I was glad that there was some sense of relief for Mal & Ivo at the end of the book – an ending that I was not expecting at all; kudos to the author here!
The author mentions Hephzibah’s Rock at quite a poignant scene at the end of the book and as I’m local to him I wonder if this was the place he had in mind when he wrote of this. Maybe I’ll ask him at his event at Bridgnorth library on Tuesday evening.
Overall, this is lovely, this is sad, this is thoroughly thought-provoking and a debut most defintely worth the read!
Many thanks to the publishers Doubleday for the advanced review copy.
Connect with the author James Hannah (who lives in the same town as me)