Book 20 and Book 21 were books for book club. Didn’t actually make the meeting due to #scotlandhour which takes place on Twitter last Wednesday of the month. I am one of the #scotlandhour team but was also guest hosting in my remit as project manager of Scotland’s Pubs and Bars – a story to tell. Telling the stories of over 120 pubs from Shetland to Dumfries. Given it’s all about telling stories too it was a good excuse. You can learn more on Scotland’s Pubs and Bars Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Scotlandspubsandbars/562093190506501?ref=hl or their Twitter account https://twitter.com/ScotlandsPubs
Book 20 I had read well in advance of book club before I took the decision that given I had Edinburgh pm meeting, book club, #scotlandhour plus my usual daily activities of walking the dog, acting as UN home negotiator, making tea and so forth I needed to drop something and it was sadly going to be book club.
Book 20 of the year was “A Greyhound of a girl” by Roddy Doyle what they call in the bookie world a young adult book. I really loved this short book. It’s about a great grandmother who died when her daughter was three. She first appears to her great grand-daughter who starts to realise she’s not just an old woman and tells her mother about her. When her mother meets her she quickly realises they are related. Why has the great-grandmother come back? Well that’s the reason that the book touched me. Her daughter was now 80 and dying. She had needed her mum all her life and her mum had been helpless as a ghost between earth and the afterlife to help her. But now she could help her and that is what the story is. But it’s so much more it’s about the power of women and their relationships especially families and how the links can be so strong from one generation to another to the next. It struck a nerve with me. I have been thinking about death a lot recently. And my grandmother died when I was two. I would love to have a memory of her but I don’t. She seems real to me as I have seen her photo so many times and my mum and my aunt have talked about her so much that I feel I know her. But the truth is I don’t really know her but I would really have loved too. I don’t usually like ghost stories my imagination just doesn’t work with ghosts but this book made it plausible, real in fact you wanted it to happen to you.
Book 21 I hadn’t finished by book club. It was called “Wonder” by RJ Palacio. I must admit I struggled with the first few chapters of this book again a young adult book. In fact I nearly gave up on it. But just as I thought it wasn’t for me the book took off and then I couldn’t put it down. It’s about a boy with a very bad facial disfigurement. He’s called August and has always been home schooled and then his parents decide to send him to school. The book starts seeing things from August’s perspective and you assume that is what the book is about. But then it changes and you find out how life is for his sister, for her ex friend, from the perspective of August’s friends and that was the appeal for me seeing things from all these different views. I loved it. It showed the best about growing up and also the worst. Ideal for anyone struggling at school or going up to high school.
A Greyhound of a Girl and Wonder would appeal to teenagers and is in the young adult section of bookshops but in my opinion has much to teach us all.