Told through the dual-voice, non-linear narration of mother Eve and her daughter Maddie, this novel is particularly brilliant in capturing the presence of terminally ill teenager Maddie. Sadness is never hidden, but never exploited either. The exploration of responses to bereavement and actions born from grief feels utterly authentic. This is a heart-breaking book, but not a downer: its humanity, honesty and humour offer respite and hope.
I whipped off my beret. When Jack faced me again, a glass in each hand, I was there with my naked head out in plain sight.
It is a blink reaction people cannot help. I was prepared for his surprised look. I had planned to get some satisfaction from it. What I was not prepared for was the expression that immediately took its place: This is curious. But: It is what it is. And: No huge deal. Maybe it is the look of someone with a scientific turn of mind. Miss Sedge has a very similar expression. If you believe everything is part of the world, then everything is equally astonishing, so nothing by itself can be too astonishing...
'Do you like to talk about it?' he asked. 'Or not? Fine if you don’t.'
'Sometimes yes,' I said. 'Sometimes no.'
'How will I know?'
'I’ll post it on Facebook: “I now wish to speak about my cancer. Please make an appointment.”'