My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1.5 days as time allowed
Pages - 310
Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
Whatever happens to those kids at school who are always being tipped to be stars in adult life?
It's a question all of us find ourselves asking at some time and Mike Gayle's powerful, poignant novel answers it with regard to Danny Morgan and James McManus - rivals for top honours in everything throughout their school years in Birmingham.
Whatever their friends and teachers might have expected, neither Danny nor James is currently running the country.
Depressed and unemployed, Danny is facing an ultimatum from his girlfriend Maya: if he doesn't get out and get a job, she's leaving.
It was an accident that changed James's life and now he is looked after affectionately by his parents. But his sister Martha believes that the role of full-time carers is destroying their lives - and infantilising her brother.
She suggests that James should go into a respite home while her parents take a break.
The respite home, as it turns out, where Danny has just got a job.
What is the path that has brought these two people to this unexpected place, and where will it take them next?
This is the story of Danny and James, but also of the families who love them and of the women they love. It is a story of many surprising twists, by turns funny and sad, painful and uplifting, and marks a brilliant new stage in the writing career of one of Britain's favourite novelists.
Danny is a bit of a lay about, his girlfriend is getting sick of him not having a job, no life direction and now his benefits are being stopped. James was on the path to success, becoming an MP, a beautiful girl and the world was his oyster.............before "the incident". Fate bring these two together, connecting a past and a future bringing life changes that neither could have foreseen nor will be the same again.
I genuinely didn't know what to expect from this book, I have never read the author and by the time the book arrived I forgot what the book was about. Personal growth, friendships, family, life, love, loyalty, learning to recover, moving on, self belief and so so much more. The chapters alternate between Danny and James, two very different men who have so much to offer, to learn and being brought together they discover so much about themselves. You know something has happened to change their lives pretty quickly but it takes a bit before anything is revealed.
There is a lot of emotion, humour and some sadness - it is quite an emotive read in parts and takes you on a roller coaster, even after I have read a few other books I am still thinking about it. It provokes you to think, just how much a life and life path can be changed by one single event, an act of kindness, bravery and the long lasting affects they can have. It shows the importance of human interactions, the strength of relationships and just how much of an impact one human being can have on another. I feel like I am not doing this book justice, it is hard to emphasise just how fabulous it is without giving away spoilers. Needless to say it warms the soul, gives you something to chew on and I think depending on your life experiences it will impact on different levels with readers. 4/5 for me this time, whilst this is my first dance with this author it absolutely won't be my last, a great read! You can buy your own copy from the 19th of April 2018, ebook and treebooks available from Amazon.