Soon. He will be allowed to visit his mother soon. His mother who is terminally ill, his mother who he has been barred from seeing as he recovers from his own bout of pneumonia.
Until then, with the help of his physiotherapist Freya, he must navigate his increasingly empty and isolated existence: his father, who finds solace in the bottom of a glass; his Nana Q, whose betting-slip confetti litters her handbag; his friends, who simply wouldn’t understand.
Time passes with the promise of soon, but one hundred and fifty-two days later the boy will come face to face with his grief, and move beyond to a world full of possibility, hope and love.
What I Thought:
I think I’ve said before that I have a tricky relationship with books in verse and poetry in general, so it’s something I tend to avoid. My not realising that One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days was in verse led me to reading it and I have to be thankful to my misunderstanding, as this is a beautiful and very special book that I might otherwise have missed.
Semi-autobiographical and written from the point of view of a teenage boy, the book gives a unique and heartbreaking insight into the thoughts and feelings of the boy as he deals with his own grief at not being able to see his mum, while also watching the rest of his family implode with the weight of it all.
Despite the obvious anger he feels at his father, who is not coping, the boy is still able to empathise with him and there are several verses where these two states of being clash.
Although each verse creates the whole of this book, they can be read – and bookmarked – individually and revisited to help with one’s own times of crisis. There is a lot in the verses that resonates.
Despite the heavy-hitting grief of the book, the final section does inspire hope that the boy’s little family will make it through and find their own strength – it’s ultimately hopeful and incredibly uplifting for such a diminutive book.
One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days is published by Unbound.
To find out more about Giles Paley-Phillips, you can connect with him on Twitter.
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Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.