Grab your tissues, because you’re seriously going to be taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride with this book. I found this particularly difficult to read because it hit very very close to home with the character of the Granny. I got half way and I just didn’t think I could read anymore because it was getting too personal, but I ploughed through it and I’m really glad that I did.
Zoe Bird is going nowhere fast. She’s angry and lonely, and her only true friend is her granny, whose Alzheimer’s is worsening. When her parents put Granny in a home, Zoe decides now is the time to break free. She smuggles Granny out and together they hit the tracks on a cross-country trip to find Zoe’s long-lost uncle. But there will be some home truths along the way… Zoe Bird is going nowhere fast. She’s angry and lonely, and her only true friend is her granny, whose Alzheimer’s is worsening. When her parents put Granny in a home, Zoe decides now is the time to break free. She smuggles Granny out and together they hit the tracks on a cross-country trip to find Zoe’s long-lost uncle. But there will be some home truths along the way. . .
Just because this book is emotional, that doesn’t mean that it’s a brilliant book. It was good yes, but not one that I would consider reading again. I HATED Zoe’s parents. I hated them. I have never ever disliked a pair of fictional parents this much in my life; they made me so angry. They didn’t care about Zoe, at all. What kind of parents believes a sadistic, disgusting and horrible girl like Madi over their own daughter? Them, that’s who. Because they only saw what they wanted to see and I truly believe that they were projecting; that they wanted Zoe to be like the version of Madi that they saw. When Zoe told them that Madi was bullying her, they didn’t believe her for even a second, they told her that she was lying. When Zoe came home when Madi had tried to kill her, they didn’t let her explain where she had been, they just went off on one. Uggggggghhhhhhh. I FEEL SO BAD FOR ZOE. All she wants to do is be with her Granny and look after her and the parents have to sabotage that as well, by putting her in the care home because no one can be bothered to look after her themselves. 1) Granny said that she wanted to die at home, so they ignored her wishes. 2) She wouldn’t let anyone but Zoe bathe her and feed her, but they still sent her to the care home. I just kept seeing a lack of love from the parents because they were so hung up on trying to be like the Dad’s brother and his wife.
“If you can’t live like you want when you’re old, when can you?”
– Allan Stratton, The Way Back Home
So yeah, as you can see, I have a lot of anger about the parents on this book. I’m going to try and not get into another massive rant about the character of Madi because that would last forever. She’s just a hateful, self-absorbed brat.
On the pleasant side of things, I really did love how the relationship between Zoe and her Granny was portrayed. The love between the two of them was just amazing. Ok so Zoe was very stupid taking her Granny cross country to Toronto but at the end of the day, Zoe just wanted to help and get her Granny away from a place where she knew that she was miserable. I also thought that Granny’s Alzheimer’s was written perfectly, I genuinely couldn’t fault it and I also loved how Zoe didn’t lose her patience with her, she just kept calm and tried her best to make sure Granny was getting what she needed.
It was also amazing to be introduced to a transgender charcater and even though this was the only element of diversity that existed within the book. However, I have no experience with transgender indivduals so I cannot say whether this representation was all good or not. But, she was an amazing woman who deserves a medal for what she had to put up with in her family when she was younger. No one should ever have to go through the transition without the support of their loved ones.
Overall, this was a quick, emotional read. And even though it seemed a bit rushed in places (especially when they were in Toronto), it was still an enjoyable read that I wholeheartedly recommend everyone to read. I stated earlier that I would not be reading this book again. This isn’t because it’s terrible – because it isn’t – it’s just because it was too emotional for me as I also said earlier, it hit very close to home. I would love to hear what you guys thought about this book!
Warning: includes triggers for depression, suicidal thoughts, death.
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review