Author: Brooke Davis
Release Date: January 27 (February 3 in Canada)
Source: Penguin Group – Dutton on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair. Her struggling mother, grieving the death of Millie’s father, leaves her in the big ladies’ underwear department of a local store and never returns.
Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house—or spoken to another human being—since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silence by yelling at passersby, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule.
Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now that she’s gone, he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl’s been committed to a nursing home, but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. Now he’s on the lam.
Brought together at a fateful moment, the three embark upon a road trip across Western Australia to find Millie’s mother. Along the way, Karl wants to find out how to be a man again; Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was.
Together they will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself feel sad once in a while just might be the key to a happy life. (Source: Goodreads)
Millie’s Dad is dead, and her Mum is gone, and she wants to find her. Agatha’s husband is dead and she’s very angry with the world now. Karl’s wife is dead and he wants to live and he wants to be less afraid. In all this death and fear and wonder they find each other. Together they start across the country to try and find Millie’s Mum, even if it’s futile, they might find something else, in the world, in each other.
Oh my goodness, this book. What even happened? What did I just read? Why did I love it so much? I can’t even begin to understand or describe this book. I just know that for some reason it dug its hooks into me and I loved it, and I loved Millie, Karl, and Agatha too. I was so engrossed in this book, it was so interesting and strange. There was this sort of quirk and whimsy to it, which was sometimes a little try-hard and sometimes so entirely enchanting I couldn’t stop reading. This review is going to be so hard to write because with this book…I just don’t know what to say.
The characters in this book were so delightful and sweet. Karl is exciting and intriguing, his desire to live and experience things. It was just so easy to relate with. Agatha is angry, but also sweet, just unwilling to admit it. I found her complex and interesting. I think though Millie really makes this book. She’s charming and quirky and sweet. She carries a lot of weight and wisdom in this book, which really struck a chord with me. Together they were such an unbelievable group, but so ridiculous delightful it was such a pleasure to stay with them.
The plot was so strange, in a good way? I had no idea what was going on sometimes. The plot is unbelievable to the max. But I mean, honestly, it was just so sweet and interesting I largely just overlooked it. There was just this fantastic element of adventure and life throughout the entire book I couldn’t care less. I don’t really know how to describe the plot, it’s basically a buddy story. It was really funny and sweet. The characters all teach something meaningful and interesting about life and death, which was just excellent.
The writing was excellent. It was exactly to my taste. There’s not a ton of dialogue, and is largely introspective. I really enjoy this style. I think it produced a really emotional environment. It definitely made me think of Melina Marchetta, just in terms of the emotional depth of the book. I found the book funny and quirky for the most part, but Davis was able to drum up a lot of emotions in me aside from just laughs. It’s all very subtle though, so when I read this bit:
Scott placed a careful hand on top of Karl’s. As he ran a gloved thumb over his son’s knuckle, Karl thought, I made this hand. (p. 81)
the tears really just snuck up on me instead of just hitting me hard.
I don’t even know how to describe this book, just take my word for it, it’s excellent. It was so interesting to read and I know I’ll think about it and remember this book for a long, long time. Highly recommend!