Plot: Matthew Homes has a lot to deal with. A flat. A job. The fact his brother is dead and is still a big part of his life. Of course, hearing his brother’s voice means that Matt cannot be trusted to be independent. But he doesn’t understand the big deal; his brother only wants him to play.
The charming story is told by Matt himself, documenting his life and everything he has been through. The jumping time lines reveal the tragedy of his childhood while his present self is finally beginning to come to terms with everything that had happened.
Quote: `I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.`
Opinion: From the very offset, this book oozes charm. If the plot is dissected, it is straight forward. A young man has to come to terms with the loss of his brother when he was a child. But it is so much more than that. The jolted timeline makes the reader feel as if Matt is truly bringing them into his life and telling things the way he believes them. He doesn’t have to just come to terms with the loss of his brother. He has to come to terms with the fact that he has to come to terms with it.
The characters are all deep and meaningful. From the different ages of Matt to his parents to his friends, they are all introduced to the reader in the way that Matt sees them – even if that means looking back on himself as a child. They have depth and they have emotions. They are complicated and mad and grieving: struggling to understand their lot in life and not hiding away from that.
Despite Matt being an untrustworthy narrator – mainly due to him hearing the voice of his dead brother – the reader wants to believe everything he says. His honesty and way of looking at life is innocent and childlike and it only serves to make the book even more heart-breaking. Matt’s way of looking at the world is not the way the majority of adults see things and it adds to the book so much.
One element of the book I really enjoyed was the different presentations on the page. From neat, typed writing to more traditional hand-writing, the story is presented not just through the words, but how those words look on the page. It makes the book enjoyable to read by breaking away from the usual traditions.
The positivity of this review will make it clear that I enjoyed this book. It is sad, it is heart-breaking and yet it is charming and enjoyable the whole way through. Despite the content, the book never gets heavy or over-emotional and instead offers an understanding into a condition we might not understand.