A Million Things by Emily Spurr
Paperback, North American, 304 pages
Publication: August 24th 2021 by Berkely Penguin Random House
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Australia, Mental Illness, Coming of Age, Family
From Goodreads: A bursting, heartfelt, debut following fifty-five days in the life of ten-year-old Rae, who must look after herself and her dog when her mother disappears.
For as long as Rae can remember, it’s been her and Mum, and their dog, Splinter; a small, deliberately unremarkable, family. They have their walks, their cooking routines, their home. Sometimes Mum disappears for a while to clear her head but Rae is okay with this, because Mum always comes back.
So, when Rae wakes to Splinter’s nose in her face, the back door open, and no Mum, she does as she’s always done and carries on. She takes care of the house, goes to school, walks Splinter, and minds her own business—all the while pushing down the truth she isn’t ready to face.
That is, until her grumpy, lonely neighbor Lettie—with her own secrets and sadness—falls one night and needs Rae’s help. As the two begin to rely on each other, Rae’s anxiety intensifies as she wonders what will happen to her when her mother’s absence is finally noticed and her fragile world bursts open.
A Million Things transforms a gut-wrenching story of abandonment and what it’s like to grow up in a house that doesn’t feel safe into an astonishing portrait of resilience, mental health, and the families we make and how they make us in return.
My Thoughts: A young girl, 10 years old, with a mom who leaves her home alone so she can go clear her head. Rae, the young girl, was amazing. I cannot imagine being left to fend for myself at age 10. She had to get herself to school, feed herself, take care of their dog, and not let on that she was living alone. The things that she did were way above her 10 years, yet she did what had to be done just to get through her days. Rae’s neighbor, Lettie, was a unique character. She had her secrets and I HATED how she was treated by the neighborhood busy body. Yet, by having her faults brought to attention it made her a stronger and better person.
A Million Things was not an easy read. I wanted to reach out and protect Rae from the world that was crashing in around her. I wanted to give her the guidance to get the help she needed but mostly I just wanted to hug her and let her know that she was loved.
The ending left me needing more. I felt like that was so much more to Lettie’s character and her relationship with her family. The true reason Rae was alone was not real well explained, I would like to know more about her mother and their family.
**Thank you Dache' Rogers at Berkley for a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Meet Emily Spurr: Originally from Tasmania, Emily lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her partner, their twins and a deaf, geriatric cat.
Shortlisted for the prestigious Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Prize, A Million Things is her first novel.
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