My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1.5 days
Pages - 368
Publisher - Michael Joseph
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
She has a full-time remote job and her rescue cat Fred. Her best friend Sadie visits with her two children. There's her online support group, her jigsaw puzzles and favorite recipes, her beloved Emily Dickinson, the internet, the grocery delivery man. Also keeping her company are treacherous memories of an unstable childhood, the estrangement from her sister, and a traumatic event that had sent her reeling.
But something's about to change. Whether Meredith likes it or not, the world is coming to her door. Does she have the courage to overcome what's been keeping her inside all this time?
Meet Meredith, she has been a prisoner in her own home for over 1214 days, she has a phobia of going outside but it hasn't always been this way. We meet Meredith on the morning it kicks off, ready to leave for work before being overcome and thereon in, effectively a prisoner of her home. However she has a full life, she has her wee companion Fred the cat, she is a dab hand at jigsaws, has online friends and support, her bestie comes round with the kids and she can make beautiful cakes. She has routine, her house is sparkling clean and now she has a "companion" coming, Tom, she doesn't expect much, he is paid to be there. However she finds herself opening up a little between Tom, her new online friend Celeste and one of the local kids who is cheekily charming. Meredith isn't speaking to her family and as the story unfolds we start to learn all about Meredith, her family and her condition and what brought her to how her life is now.
I really like this book, it brought me out of my reading slump and in some ways found myself relating to Meredith. I have withdrawn a bit from everything I love/do normally whilst trying to deal with grief/loss so finding some of Meredith's routines brought a bit of comfort. Set in Glasgow, who doesn't love a book with a location you know and or can relate to and whilst we predominantly are in Merediths life and house it is still nice.
The book has humour, hard themes, loss/grief (also of self), friendship, recovery, mental health, abuse, secrets, family, coping mechanisms as we go through life with Meredith not as a self help type. The book packs a lot in and whilst some scenes gave you a chuckle some made you just want to hug her. I think depending on your own experiences will depend on how much impact the book has on you but regardless of that I think just about everyone would enjoy it. It covers a wide range of issues through Meredith's personal accounts/experiences and gives the reader a chance for empathy rather than preaching or teaching but I think it carries an important message within. This is a great debut, 4.5/5 for me.