This book is very different from Ben Hatch's most recent books on his travels. This is a work of fiction but perhaps with elements of his own early life in there.
The main character, Jay, is one who will be recognised by every parent with grey hair, an empty wallet and a teenage son who thinks the world will provide. Following Jay's progress from job to job you can't help but feel empathy for this young man who just wants to write. The trouble is he doesn't actually seem to get around to doing it. A year and three and a half pages down on his novel, he loses his mother to cancer and his younger brother has to go to boarding school because his father can no longer cope. He has a girlfriend whom he might just be falling for but she wants to go away to university whereas Jay wants them both to travel. On top of all that his best friend Sean starts to act more strangely than usual and Jay doesn't know how to help. His father, though devastated at the loss of his wife, tries to throw himself back in to normality by hob-nobbing with celebrities in his job but only manages this through a haze of alcohol and a stiff upper lip.
Ben Hatch has written an emotive novel with moments of sadness which will have tears welling up to moments of outright snorts of laughter as Jay tries to make sense of the world and his place in it. Cancer is never an easy subject to sit alongside humour but the author manages this very well.
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