My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
'I don't have any friends, only dog ones, because they don't make you do bad things. I don't want any human friends, actually. It's for the best.'
Hope Nicely hasn't had an easy life.
But she's happy enough living at 23 Station Close with her mum, Jenny Nicely, and she loves her job, walking other people's dogs. She's a bit different, but as Jenny always tells her, she's a rainbow person, a special drop of light.
It's just...there's something she needs to know. Why did her birth mother abandon her in a cardboard box on a church step twenty-five years ago? And did she know that drinking while pregnant could lead to Hope being born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
In a bid to find her birth mother and the answers to these questions, Hope decides to write her autobiography. Despite having been bullied throughout school, Hope bravely joins an evening class where she will not only learn the lessons of writing (including the number one golden rule of 'show don't tell'), but may also begin to discover more about the world around her, about herself and even make some (human) friends.
But when Jenny suddenly falls ill, Hope realises there are many more lessons to come...
Hope Nicely's Lessons for Life is a heart-warming, coming-of-age novel about loneliness, friendship, acceptance and, above all, hope.
📖 My thoughts..
Twenty-five year old Hope was born with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and was adopted at birth by Jenny Nicely. This story, told entirely in the first person, is how, in joining a writing group and writing her autobiography, Hope looked for answers, particularly about her birth mother, and in doing so found out far more about herself, and others, in the process.
I liked Hope, she's quirky and funny, whilst at the same time serious and intense and yet is filled with such an uncomplicated view of the world around her that it becomes a real joy to follow her story. Filled with an abundance of characters make no doubt it is Hope's strident voice which comes across loud and clear as she immerses us in her lessons for life. Despite the many challenges which Hope faces this is never a sad story, nor does it sink into mawkishness, as it gives a brave and optimistic outlook on the life of a unique and unconventional individual.
Hope Nicely's Lessons for Life is a beautifully written debut which has a special warmth which shines far beyond the written word, and is one of those lovely coming of age stories which stays with you long after you've turned the last page.
About the Author
As a freelance journalist for national magazines and newspapers, Caroline Day wrote other people's stories: happy stories, sad stories, stories of the greatest tribulations and triumphs. To do this right, Caroline spent many hundreds of hours, trying to truly listen to what each of these people had top say. Hope Nicely's lessons for Life is Caroline's first novel. And although fictional characters are a little trickier to interview, Caroline hopes that Hope will feel that she has listened well. Caroline lives in North London, with her husband, son, daughter and two obscenely greedy rescue dogs.
Twitter @snoopytodd #HopeNicely