I had absolutely no idea what this book was about nor had I read anything else by Craig Silvey when I chose to download it as the ‘free book of the month’ from Audible.
Rarely do I give out a 5 star rating but this book was totally worth it. I’m going to try to describe it without giving too much away.
It starts with young teenager Sam meeting elderly gent Vic on a bridge, as they are both about to end their lives. From there, a deep and caring friendship develops between the two. Sam learns a lot from Vic, including what it means to be a friend and to have a friend, something that hasn’t been prevalent in Sam’s life up until the present moment.
Sam has a lot to overcome including a pretty rough upbringing and not being accepted at school. In addition to Vic, Sam meets a cast of other people who are everything from benevolent to antagonistic. Sam has to work out what it means to forge one’s own identity while moving through adolescence and makes plenty of mistakes along the way. Sometimes the learning is easy and sometimes heart-wrenchingly difficult.
The narration was brilliantly performed and added so much to the personalities of the characters and was probably one of the biggest factors in getting me hooked from the very beginning.
I really liked the way the writer didn’t give away too much in the beginning – it was like a running observation of what was happening around Sam without having any context to make sense of it. It built suspense while developing the characters, who felt so real that I missed them when the book was over. There’s a lot of tender moments while Sam fumbles (sometimes, flails) around trying to work out what will be next. It all led to a breathtaking ending that had me close to tears while my heart was bursting.
It’s ultimately a story about acceptance that will likely leave you with a different view of the world around you. Highly recommend.