Book Review: The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah

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Forty year old Ivo is in a hospice. He doesn’t have long to live. His days are spent being looked after by his carers, with a blanket he clings on to for comfort. He doesn’t want to have visitors or any reminder of his life outside. All he wants to do is wait for death.

His carer/nurse Sheila suggests a ‘game’ for him to play, for him to keep himself engaged. He is to think of a body part for every letter in the alphabet and recall a story for each body part. As he works through the alphabet, he takes us down his memory lane. His childhood, the love of his life, Mia and all the things that went wrong (and right).

It is a poignant, heart-wrenching read. For a book that you know will end in tears, it was still quite an uplifting, positive book.

The characters were all real. They could be any of us, multi-dimensional, with issues. The relationships within the story are addressed in such a beautiful, sensitive way. Be it his relationship with his mother, his sister, or his friends.. It all felt real, possible, and as Ivo spends his last days thinking about the people in his life, it brings him a clarity that had eluded him previously.

I loved the way it ended. There was something incredibly touching about the way the book ended. For a debut book, I thought it was such a wonderful piece of writing. Incredibly sad at places, but we’ll worth a read. While the story isn’t ‘new’, the way the author has spun it, is new, and very beautiful.

A 4/5 book for me. Thank you Net Galley and the publishers for the review copy.

This book is available from Amazon(UK).

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