Five words from the blurb: conventional, life, choices, right, uproar
It is almost impossible to review this book without giving away spoilers; in fact every review I’ve seen so far has mentioned something I’d have preferred to keep secret. As a compromise I’m going to let you know that this is a fantastic book. It deserves to become a word-of-mouth bestseller and if you enjoy entertaining books that don’t shy away from difficult subjects (e.g. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time or Room) then you are bound to love this one. If you don’t mind mild spoilers you are welcome to read on. Major spoilers will be written in white text – just highlight the passage to read it.
Alex Woods is seventeen-years-old. The book begins with a custom’s officer in Dover discovering a large amount of marijuana and an urn full of ashes in his car.
The reason for the national manhunt is slowly revealed in a gripping narrative that effortlessly switches from humour to darkness.
I loved the build up and the way snippets of information were skilfully dropped through the text, but I’m afraid the ending wasn’t quite perfect. I felt the reader was subjected to a bit of a rant and whilst I agreed with point of view being made (subject revealed in spoiler below) I think the discussion was one sided. I’d have preferred to see the issues investigated in more depth, with some negative aspects included. This would have shown the full complexity of this difficult subject and the turmoil of emotion faced by the families of those involved.
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW – highlight to read
This book deals with euthanasia. The relationship between Alex and the elderly gentleman, Mr Peterson, was beautifully drawn. The subject was handled sensitively, but is bound to have a more profound effect on those who disagree that a person has a right to choose when they die.
Alex is a wonderful character and I loved the quirky, unpredictable course of his life. It will be fantastic to discuss this book with everyone and I’m looking forward to seeing it rush up the best seller charts.