I was lucky enough to get a review copy of this book from Netgalley and I’m so excited to share this with you.
Publisher: Canongate Books
Publication Date: July 6th 2017
Length: 304 Pages
Source: Netgalley Earc
My Rating: 85/100 – 4 Stars
I first read Matt Haig 9 years ago now when my year 6 class got to read his book for the Nestle Smarties Book Prize (which he won, yay) and since then that book has stayed with me, and probably the rest of that class, as being one of my favourite childhood reads because we had so much fun with it. I love that, as an adult, I’m still reading and enjoying his books.
This is the first adult fiction book I’ve read of his and it follows Tom, a man with a condition that slows down his ageing. He looks to be in his 40’s but he’s actually over 400 years old. Over the decades he has had to move and change identities with the help of a secret society that helps people like him. His latest identity is as a history teacher in a London secondary school.
I’m not a fan of time travel books, but I loved this one. He didn’t exactly travel time, he’s just lived through so much of it, and I love how Haig brings historical moments and people into this novel. We see Tom interact with the likes of Shakespeare and F.Scott Fitzgerald (which were some of my favourite moments of this book.)
One reason why I love this book so much is that it’s not heavy on the sci/fi element. I’m not a fan of sci/fi, and though it’s definitely there it’s not enough to put me off. Honestly this book is more of an exploration of human emotion, which we already know Haig does so well after Reasons To Stay Alive.
Probably my favourite thing about this is that it is a sci/fi novel where mental illness has a large presence. Depression (in my experience) can make people feel older than they are, can make people feel tired of life. He brings that feeling to physical form in Tom.
Matt doesn’t just brush over the mental illness either, he outright says the characters are suffering from depression and anxiety, that they feel lonely and detached from society even in a crowd of people. This is what made a 400 year old male main character relatable.
I could not stop reading this book, the characters, the settings, the writing, the mysteries and questions that slowly become answered throughout the book make it a real page turner. I must admit about three quarters of the way through as he was recounting one of his pasts I found it less intriguing but it soon picked up again.
I feel like this is one of those books that has something for everyone, historical fiction, romance, young adult coming-of-age, family, sci-fi, mental illness, even a cute dog.
If that’s not enough to convince you to buy this book, Benedict Cumberbatch has bought the filming rights.
Get your hands on this book the minute it comes out.
Thanks for reading