Saturday, 2 April 2016

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Well now, this one was the most expensive on Kindle, hence it was the last one I read.  Over eight of your English pounds no less!  And yes, I know I should have ordered it from the library and waited, but our local library is open for about an hour on the third Wednesday of the second month (this may be a slight exaggeration), and when I need to read a book, I need to read it right now. This is also the way I feel about tea.  I should be glad, I think, that I never got into smoking and that red wine brutally disagrees with me.

Anyway, what an amazing book.  It's aimed at a YA audience, but I really think everyone should read it. Yes, everyone in the entire world, and that includes you.  Assuming that at any point in your life you have felt a bit unsure of yourself, like every one of your friends is only pretending to be your friend, and actually they feel really sorry for you, and that you are actually a bit rubbish at everything you do, and that will, ultimately cause everything to go horribly wrong for you and everyone you love.  If you've never felt that way, then fab, keep on keeping on, and good luck to you and all that, but I don't really trust you, by the way, not really.

I'm so glad Patrick Ness thought of this idea, and not someone else, who has great ideas but not the technical skill to create a great novel out of it (see my review of The Killables hidden deep somewhere in this blog). I would do a link, but I'm ill in bed, and that's far too much effort, so just read the whole blog, and you'll find it.  I'm sure you have time to do that, what with not having any real friends, and everything.

I'm not going to say too much about the idea of the novel, because discovering that is part of the joy of this novel (I suggest you don't read the description, the blurb, or any of the reviews, apart from this one). It follows  18 year old Mikey, in the weeks leading up to his graduation.  I think, even for the most tethered-to-reality of us, that's a difficult phase in your life anyway, where things become a bit less obviously planned out. A personal chord was struck for me by the fact that Mikey and his big sister Mel are both old enough to leave home that summer, leaving their 10 year old sister home with her (dysfunctional) parents.  This might well be what happens to BabyM.  This is one of my personal weak spots since one of my colleagues, on seeing my obvious bump said "Wow, that's a bit age gap you'll have there!  I'm by far the youngest of my siblings.  I've always completely hated it.  It's like they had this family, and then I just came along afterwards and never really fitted in" Thanks for that. I hope it's not quite such a difficult home as theirs, but I guess the issue is we all think we're actually perfectly normal really, and that's part of the point of this novel.  Also, that not being normal is actually find and OK.  But not in an "Hey kids!  It's OK to be just who you are!" kind of way.  In a brilliant novel kind of way.

I hope this doesn't win the Carnegie, because Patrick Ness has won it loads of times before, and books like this seem to win it year after year.  But it is brilliant, and it possibly should win. And you, yes, you know who you are, should definitely read it.  And get your kids to read it too, but not the little ones because there are adult themes (ie sex). Read it first, and then decide.  I don't think you'll regret it.  (You might of course, and then secretly hate me even more than you did before.)

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