Headline Books 20th September 2018
If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.
If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life.
But if they hadn’t seen the missing-person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.
Chuckling by page 3 I knew then this book was going to have, ‘all the feels’. Bitter sweet, ironically named Melody has a condition, comparable to Tourette’s which compels her to sing out loud when feeling emotional. This is oh so cringeworthy as she cannot help herself, the songs relate to the situation and as the condition has progressed are now accompanied with dance moves. This is funny and horrendous in equal parts as throughout this book Melody finds herself ‘performing’ to a bemused crowd and often her own mortified kids.
This is about a wounded and fractured family. Flynn and Rose live with their mum Melody, their beloved father is gone, disappeared – his whereabouts is unknown, they don’t know if he is dead or alive. Just missing. Flynn sustained crippling injuries in a car crash as a child, leaving him blind in one eye and his face disfigured. Rose a ‘Grade A’ student wants answers, specifically what happened to her dad?
Meet the Kings, Melody and her 2 teenage children. Emma Cooper must be credited with creating such wonderful characters. You will read this book and I am certain you will have a favourite. For me it was Flynn, self conscious and damaged, struggling but warm and kind, pivotal in his family and so strong, supporting his sister and mother.
This book wasn’t what I expected I don’t think, although it most definitely was every bit as delightful as I expected, it was heartwarming and healing and desperately sad and unfair. About life for the Kings as they pragmatically move forward facing what life throws at them.
A highly enjoyable read which was possibly a little long in the middle part but engaging throughout with a small cast of likeable characters. The book is written in the first person from a number of perspectives which is brilliant in many ways. The reader is with Melody as she feels a song coming on, or mortified with Rose as she makes a quick retreat amidst the sniggers accompanied the performance.
A truly lovely piece of contemporary fiction, entertaining, with depth and meaning and yes, ‘all the feels’. Recommended by me and most definitely for fans of Eleanour Oliphant, Elsie, The Lido… those life stories with quirky characters and human kindness that are warming our hearts at the moment!
Than you to Headline Books and Phoebe Swinburn for my early copy of the book and as always thanks as always for reading!