“I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.”
This was yet another book I grabbed in a charity shop, but the funny thing was that once it was on my reading pile, I kept seeing reviews about it and my friends recommended it to me. It was almost if an unknown force was urging me to move it up my pile and read it (so I did!).
I didn’t know what to expect from this, because as you can see, the blurb doesn’t give away much. I found that it was a very touching and beautifully written suspense novel with a dark edge to it. It was a real page turner, and though was at no points frightening, was an extremely emotional book as it explored themes of death and mental illness.
The book highlights the effects of childhood trauma; in this case we are told the story of Mathew Holmes whose brother died when he was younger. The book was told from Matt’s point of view as a young adult looking back on his life since his brother’s accident. It was written incredibly well and really reflected Matt’s mental illness in the style of writing itself.
It was a very clever idea to have different fonts for when Matt was using a computer or a typewriter as the novel was meant to be his book that he had written using different methods so it was nice that an element of that was brought into the copy now sitting back on my shelf. I also loved the occasional picture as it made the story seem more personal, as if Matt had really written it.
I felt that the characters were really brought to life on the page, especially Matt, who I became very attached to. He goes through so much in 300 pages and the ending was touching and bittersweet. You never can have a properly happy ending to a book like this, but it was a new beginning, a new chapter in his life so to speak and worked really well in context with the rest of the novel.
I’m very glad I took this off the Oxfam shelf and would urge all readers to find a copy for yourselves.