Today I bring you the review of a book I really enjoyed. It’s very quirky. I hope you like it.
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor
First, the description:
‘From the first page, we were hooked . . . If you loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this is for you . . . Brilliant! *****’
‘A poignant and very clever read – you’ll fall in love with Milo!‘
‘Not dissimilar to Christopher in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time . . . Beautifully written and complete with a powerful message, What Milo Saw will make you think, and then pick up the phone to call your mum’
A BIG story about a small boy who sees the world a little differently
Nine-year-old Milo Moon has retinitis pigmentosa: his eyes are slowly failing and he will eventually go blind. But for now he sees the world through a pin hole and notices things other people don’t. When Milo’s beloved gran succumbs to dementia and moves into a nursing home, Milo soon realises there’s something very wrong at the home. The grown-ups won’t listen to him so with just Tripi, the nursing home’s cook, and Hamlet, his pet pig, to help, Milo sets out on a mission to expose the nursing home and the sinister Nurse Thornhill.
Insightful, wise and surprising, What Milo Saw is a novel filled with big ideas, simple truths and an emotional message that will resonate with everyone. Milo sees the world in a very special way and it will be impossible for you not to fall in love with him, savour every moment you spend with him and then share his story with everyone you know.
Now, my review:
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review through Net Galley.
It has already been suggested that readers of The Curious Incident… might enjoy this book, and I can say I have enjoyed both. As other reviewers have noted, one of the main differences it that What Milo Saw offers a variety of points of view, not only that of nine year old Milo, but also his mother, Sandy, his grandmother Lou, Tripi, the Syrian chef at the nursing home (and an illegal refugee) and although the story belongs to Milo, we get other perspectives and a kaleidoscopic effect.
One of the many strengths of the novel is Milo. He suffers from retinitis pigmentosa (that means he sees everything though a pinhole as it were, and eventually he will end up blind) and as many characters tell him, that allows him to focus and see things that many others miss. But despite how extraordinary and insightful Milo proves to be at times, he’s also a little boy. His placing his trust in somebody because of a passing remark, his catastrophizing and disappointment in adults in general, his black and white way of looking at things, his quick judgements and misunderstanding of situations, his enthusiasm and tantrums, the good and the bad, make him real and human. He is not a mini-adult; he is a believable and fully-fledged child.
The adults in his life are living through crises and difficulties (his grandmother is losing her memory and physically unwell, his mother has not recovered from her husband’s abandonment and finds it difficult to get organised and carry on with life, and Tripi is desperate to find his sister but scared of being found out as an illegal immigrant) but Milo inspires them to never give up and to be a better version of themselves.
Milo, his little pig Hamlet (growing suspiciously fast), Al (a Scottish undercover reporter and relative), Tripi, Sandy, all the residents and eventually even Mrs. Hairy and the whistling neighbour, join forces to try and bring down the horrible owner of the Forget Met Not nursing home, Nurse Thornhill. She is the bad witch of the fairy tales, although, unfortunately she might not be miles away from some real examples.
The book’s style is smooth offering an easy read, and the language used is well adapted to the specific characters. The protagonists are easy to root for (some irresistible from the beginning, like lovely Tripi, others grow into their own, like Sandy), and the novel achieves a communitarian and choral effect conveying and optimistic and life-affirming message.
This is a touching and warm-hearted book, set up in a recognisable modern Britain (for good and bad) full of unforgettable characters and a fairy tale ending. A fabulous read I recommend wholeheartedly to anybody who likes little books with big stories.
Thanks so much to Virginia Macgregor for her book, thanks to all of you for writing, and you can like, share, comment (although it will be a while before I can reply) and of course, CLICK!