Thursday 23 June 2016

Review ~ The Museum of You by Carys Bray

June 16 2016

A bit of blurb..

Clover Quinn was a surprise. She used to imagine she was the good kind, but now she's not sure. She’d like to ask Dad about it, but growing up in the saddest chapter of someone else’s story is difficult. She tries not to skate on the thin ice of his memories.

Darren has studied his daughter like a seismologist on the lookout for waves and surrounded her with everything she might want – everything he can think of, at least - to be happy.

What Clover wants is answers. This summer, she thinks she can find them in the second bedroom, which is still full of her mother’s belongings. Volume isn’t important, what she is looking for is essence; the undiluted bits: a collection of things that will tell her the full story of her mother, her father and who she is going to be.

My thoughts about The Museum of You...

Sometimes a sad story can make you laugh out loud and even though you are laughing, it really is breaking your heart into a million pieces. Such is the pull of The Museum of You that the further you get drawn into Clover’s story, the more you can’t help but admire this feisty twelve year old who is doing her utmost to bring back some sort of memory of her mother, who her father seems to have shut out of their lives. 

I adored Clover from the first page when she hefted her watering can and an old bucket and lifted her face to the sky and tasted summer, and I loved her even more when she was so enamoured of her school trip to Liverpool’s Maritime Museum that she decided to make a museum of memories dedicated  to the mother she never knew.  But the story doesn’t just belong to Clover, it belongs to her hapless father Darren, who does his best to be both mother and father to his spirited daughter, and with a little help from the deliciously quirky Mrs Mackerel, Clover is turning out to be a delightful contradiction of sound common sense and fanciful daydreams.

The story is set in Southport a place I know really well and an added delight was to travel the town as a passenger on Darren’s bus and to cycle with Clover on her bike to her granddad's flat and to their allotment, all combined to make the story come alive in my imagination. I wanted to stay with Clover and Mrs Mackerel for ever, in fact, what I really want is for Mrs Mackerel to come and be my next door neighbour, she reminds me so much of my nana’s friend, Mrs Spencer, who was equally as deaf as Mrs Mackerel, and who used to shout to me, MIND HOW YOU CROSS THE ROAD and DO YOU WANT AN UNCLE JOE’S. Those who live in my part of the North West will UNDERSTAND this reference.

It’s testament to the author’s exceptionally good style of writing that she can imbue so much that is left  unsaid into a narrative, which whilst making you smile at life’s little oddities, is also making you stop, listen and take a look at your own life and the way in which you are living it.

I’ve got to share this quote if I may… because I think it’s so beautifully expressed and it brought, one of many, tears to my eyes

“When you grow up in the saddest chapter of someone else’s story, you’re forever skating on the thin ice of their memories …”

In many ways The Museum of You is a coming of age story. It’s all about those shades of growing up that twelve year olds feel when they’re just on the cusp of adolescence, and yes it’s also about loss, loneliness and grief, but there's also kindness, simple joy and the love of good friends and family.

Best Read with….A cup of tea and a cheeky packet of Jelly babies BUT DON’T EAT THEM ALL AT ONCE…

You can discover more about Carys and her writing on her website  or follow her on Twitter @CarysBray or visit her on Facebook 

Read an article about Mrs Mackerel here

Read an extract from The Museum of You here

My thanks to the author for sharing her book with me and 

also to the publisher for my review copy.


1 comment:

  1. wow, this sounds fab, added it to my wish list..thanks!


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