I have been seeing this book all over Twitter, published by the fantastic Bluemoose Books, and it has been on my TBR list for a while. I always feel a slight trepidation about starting a book so many have loved; the main worry being that if I don’t like it, there is probably something wrong with me.
Luckily, I adored this book. It is a gorgeous, quiet story about ordinary people and what makes them special. Leonard and his friend Hungry Paul (the reason for this moniker is never explained, a touch that I really enjoyed) are both gentle, peaceful characters, united by their lack of ego and their ability to avoid getting caught up in the chaos of 21st century living. They are sufficiently different to provide a contrast, as Leonard gradual moves towards a more ‘conventional’ life while Hungry Paul’s unique take becomes more pronounced and profound. For me, Leonard was more relatable, but Hungry Paul was the beating heart of the story.
The book meanders gently along, stopping the reader in their tracks every so often to offer up a quiet truth. It is as if Hession is giving us a pause, a soft nudge, in which to say: look, this is just normal life, it is not full of drama and Big Events, but it is different for each of us in a million small ways. There is such a sense of kindness both in the characters and in the presentation of the story as a whole that I found myself very deeply moved, in ways I can’t quite articulate here. I also managed to time it perfectly and read it over the Easter weekend, which is when much of the plot takes place. I do like a bit of reading serendipity. Who doesn’t?
The last line of the book is just so utterly beautiful that I cried, and for the first time in quite a long time, they were happy tears.
I strongly recommend this book if you have not read it yet – it is full of the restorative human warmth we could all use right now.
(Note: Bluemoose Books @ofmooseandmen are currently collaborating with @LittleToller and author Ben Myers (@BenMyers1) – do follow them on Twitter to find out more of their exciting plans.)