I am sitting in Aroma sobbing my eyes out having just finished this book. Everyone is looking at me like I’m a complete psycho. I want to shout to the crowded cafe that I am not, in fact, a crazy person with a tenuous hold on her emotions, I just read a truly wonderful book.
John Boyne, of ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ fame, wrote a new adult fiction book, recently released, about a boy growing up as a homosexual in Ireland. It jumps in sets of seven years, spanning his entire life from the 1940s until the present day. It is a book about a deeply flawed person growing up in a society which rejected him and his ilk, and who is searching for acceptance, love and happiness throughout his decades.
And people: THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD. Had I not had the week from hell last week I am confident I would have read all 500+ pages in a few days; unfortunately, it got relatively spread out. However, this is absolutely a book you need to pick up, if you are into any of the following:
- Historical fiction (Ireland in the 1940s, bizarrely depressing AF)
- Coming-of-age stories (Cyril Avery is on a journey to discover how he fits in the broader history, set against the complex background of uber-Catholic Ireland and the growing AIDS-crisis in the States in the 1980s)
- Books that make you fall in love with the characters (He is a deeply flawedand F-ed person at times, and he makes such poor decisions that you want to shout at him, despite the fact that you know he is a figment of John Boyne’s imagination … but despite that, you love him and are rooting for him to stop being such a shit)
- A book about the way in which families are about love and support and come in many forms and varieties.
I was lucky enough to be recommended this by a wonderful person at Type Books in the village, and if you are also looking for a great book/ stocking-stuffer/ general all around guaranteed-good-read, you can buy it here!