12th March 2015
A crocheted blanket of memories and a young man lost in the reminiscences of life is the main focus for The A- Z of You and Me. Ivo is dying and is struggling to find any comfort in his memories. When his hospice nurse, Sheila, encourages him to concentrate on the A-Z game and think of stories or memories associated with alphabetical parts of his body, at first this seems a little outlandish, but gradually, piece by jagged piece, Ivo learns to analyse the story of his life and tries to make sense of those people who have tried to make his life important.
This is a very different view of a difficult subject and the author confronts death and dying in very contemporary style which neither sensationalises nor patronises the journey Ivo has taken. Ivo makes no apology for the life he has led and whilst he is blunt to the point of rudeness, neither wanting nor needing anyone, there is, under the bravado, an aching vulnerability which I found to be quite heartbreaking.
In many ways it’s an emotional read, both sad and funny in equal measure but also quite uplifting about the power of the human spirit and how, in the end, we all need to reach out to each other as we never really know when or how our own journey will end.
Overall, a commendable debut novel from an author who I am sure will continue to go from strength to strength.
My thanks to Transworld / Doubleday Publishers for my review copy and for the chance to take part in their knit a square project which is associated with the publication of this book.