James DeWitt and Danny Ellen seem the unlikeliest of friends. They may have both attended the same prestigious school - 'King's Scrivener for Boys' - but their life trajectories have long since diverged. That is, until now. James was a property developer and recently elected MP and Danny, on the dole and drifting. However, when James suffers a debilitating brain injury and Danny is forced to take a short-term job, they connect again and the possibility of redemption is on the cards.
Exploring the possibility of finding happiness in unexpected places, this is an emotionally charged but satisfying story about male friendship and is a cogent reminder that life doesn't always work out as planned.
Thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
We gave this a consistent 3/5. We enjoyed the easy, light read but did feel the book treated the serious subjects of alcoholism and brain injury a bit frivolously. We thought the alternating chapters narrated by the two key characters worked well and that the author wrote from James' perspective well. It was also enjoyable to read about things from a male's perspective.
Enjoyed by all. Memorable. Insightful observation by the author into the two main characters who were well drawn and believable. Unusual combination of special needs that worked very well for both men as they supported each other towards greater independence. We found the style of each chapter in alternate voices was interesting and helpful. Several members want to read another book by Gayle after this one.
A brilliant book! Everyone enjoyed it, a very easy read.
This was a nice change of pace in comparison to some heavier books we have been reading in our group lately. Given the uncertain circumstances in the current state of our world, it was uplifting, hopeful and optimistic and it was an easy read. The shared narrative of the two protagonists was particularly effective, along with the gentle humour to offset some serious issues. In addition it gave rise to some quality discussion about ABI and the impact it has on families, including some of our own. So we recommend it, qualified with some concern that the 'tidy' ending was not realistic.
Generally the group enjoyed the book, but felt that not all the characters were fully developed.
Good discussion about brain injuries, role of carers in society, and the class system in England. Validity of 'happy ever after ending' challenged by some, but overall we agreed it is a nice change and that good things do happen.
All our group enjoyed this book. A couple of people were reluctant to begin with, but were quickly hooked in. We felt we really got to know the characters, and the way each narrated their story added to this. Some of our group have had experience of brain trauma to varying degrees, and felt this book gave a good insight into what it's like for the person and their family and friends.
This produced a worthwhile discussion around the issue of brain injury, in that it really made us think of the everyday issues and impact on family. An uplifting read. Good book overall.
Well-written. Prompted readers to read other books Mike Gayle has written.
We all loved this book!
Thought provoking. Slow start but worth it. Wished print was larger. Group linked book to everyday life experiences and people in the community. Sad but hopeful book. Beautifully written. So good to have a book about men written by men.
We all really enjoyed this book. Such a heartwarming story of how the two men met again, and helped each other with their problems, thus creating a close friendship based on mutual respect. A great way to end our Book Group year.
A feel good novel with a social heart.
Everyone enjoyed this book. They found it well-written, and enjoyed the character development. It was full of hope and positivity. 2 members read it twice, and 2 related their own experiences of brain injury.
Everyone present thought highly of the book - such a great style of writing and true to life characters. A happy ending always a bonus. Some more books by Mike Gayle on the BDS list please!
Our group found this an easy read, with the story unfolding clearly from alternating characters. We enjoyed how the dependence of characters changed throughout the story, as each changed and grew, especially Vicki.
We all really enjoyed this book and would read it again. The characters were really believable. The relationships were powerful, and the book has lingered in our memories. The author evoked sympathy without being overly sentimental.
Enjoyed but not loved. Characters lost some credibility near the end of the book. Feel good easy read.
Most members enjoyed this book and found it light and easy to read. We enjoyed the voices changing between the two men, and many times thought that "there but for the grace of God go I". The ending was perhaps a little too contrived, but then we all agreed we were happy with it finishing on a positive note. The friendship between Danny and James was developed nicely.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the book - we all had a question to answer, and shared personal stories.
We loved this book. The themes were full of colour and quirkiness. The characters were well developed. The storyline was full of surprises.
Everyone enjoyed it, and the conversation from the questions was thought provoking around mental health in our group, and in NZ in general. Bit of a 'twee' ending. Too tidy.
Everyone loved this book, and vowed to search out more by the author. Mike Gayle's writing for the character with a brain injury was presented in a way which seemed absolutely authentic.
People enjoyed the story, and thought it well told.
Loved the book!
The group were unanimous in the enjoyment of this book although the ending was a little too nicely tied up for some. Easy, enjoyable read with great character development.
Everyone enjoyed this book. Easy to read and we all talked about how quickly things can change and how it effects everyone around them. Was a little predictable in places and was all tidied up a bit neatly at the the end, but still a good story.
A lovely read, beautiful language. One of the best books we have had.
We all loved this book!
Much good discussion. Caught group members' imagination - also brought out memories of people they knew. Bittersweet.
Our men's group found this book to be one of the best we've ever received.
Two of the group didn't ever get underway with this one, but those of us who did enjoyed it.
An easy read with strong likeable characters. A predictable plot but we liked it.