Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: The Thing About December

I loved Ryan's other novel, The Spinning Heart, winner of the Irish Book Awards Book of the Year last year. This one was actually written earlier but just published in December 2014. I can't even begin to say which is better. I certainly will be reading anything Donal Ryan writes.

The Thing About December features one of the most loveable characters I've come across in a long time. Johnsey Cunliffe is a grown boy who would probably be labeled today as "developmentally disadvantaged". He has a job, he has a good home with loving parents on a run-down farm, but he is often bullied by other punks in town who sense the weakness in him. Johnsey has a difficult time talking, forming words to express his thoughts, and when both his parents die in a short time span, he finds himself alone in his house, beset by many who want to get their hands on the land his parents have left him. When, after a mugging by neighborhood thugs, he lands in the hospital, temporarily blinded.   There he meets Nurse "Lovely Voice"and  his life changes.

This is a bittersweet, lovely, heartwarming and heartbreaking story of a year in the life of a gentle man who simply wants a friend, wants to be understood, wants to be sure his parents would be proud of him.   He just wants to let others know how he feels and do the right thing.

An author to be read, and a story to be relished. Another 5 star stunner.


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