Borough Press 2018
There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.
84 year old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?
From the author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, this book will teach you many things but here are three of them:
1. The fine threads of humanity will connect us forever.
2. There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3. Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.
Once more Joanna Cannon has written a wonderfully endearing book about humans, in this case, getting old, being more forgetful and being heard less. This is a wonderful story of Florence, reflecting on life as she lays on her floor having fallen in her flat.
A bitter sweet story with a drama at its heart as Florence strives to uncover the identity of the new resident while tackling the assumptions about her concerns being confused ramblings associated with dementia. In chapters told from several points of view we gain a picture of Florence and insight into why she is behaving a certain way and how this behaviour is perceived by others. Culminating in a twist as the story reaches its conclusion.
I enjoyed this book hugely and felt the author’s insight gleaned from her profession as a psychiatrist captured the experiences and preconceptions of the elderly members of our population and the all too common memory problems associated with aging. For everything Florence does there is a logical reason, but all too often she is not heard and her actions dismissed under an umbrella of dementia.
Within the story the themes of humanity and fate were weaved through, with consideration of the impact of the smallest life and some sweet links were made as the story progressed of minor actions many years ago but without them things would be different. I do enjoy these human stories and I fled through this book savouring every moment. Joanna Cannon is in my opinion a genius with words, capturing so much detail using the same language we all have.
This book is highly recommended by me and is an absolute must for fans of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, review here and the writing of Rachel Joyce (The Music Shop review Here and Sarah Winman Tin Man review here.