Living in the north east ends of London’s Zone 3 and working quite a way south of the river means I definitely rack up the tube hours on my daily commute. Weirdly though, I actually quite enjoy it. After five years of living here, I’m still not quite over the ‘I’M A YOUNG PROFESSIONAL LIVING THE LONDON DREAM LOOK AT ME GO DO THE TUBE THING LIKE A PROPER WORKING ADULT’ thing. And knowing me, I probably never will be.
Having said that, daily jaunts on the Central and Northern lines (I knowww) do take their toll if you haven’t got something to entertain you – be it music, a podcast or a good book to stick your nose into. Just make sure you don’t get so involved you miss your stop. That’s happened to me a couple too many times to be acceptable. If you’re looking for books to read on your commute (or at home, in bed, on the beach, at the park, in the bath…y’get me), I’ll be sharing what I’m reading with a new series, Tube Tales. I say a series…I’m notoriously bad at series posts. Let’s see how this one goes.
Also, I’m going to be giving away copies of what I’ve been reading so one of you lucky folk can get involved FOR FREE. Best idea. Find out how you can win this one after the review!
This month, I recieved quite a few books in the post from the lovely folks at Penguin. They’re mostly to blame for the fact I’m gonna need a new bookshelf soon. One of the books that made its way through my letterbox was Clare Fisher’s debut novel, All The Good Things.
Clare Fisher – All The Good Things
All The Good Things begins with 21-year old Beth, in prison, being asked by her psychiatrist to write a list of all the good things in her life. Which, to begin with, is a bleak thought. The book’s chapters explore each of the things that make the list. From dark to heartwarming and funny, each section gives a little more insight into Beth, and the reasons that led to her current circumstances.
It didn’t take long for me to suspect what the ‘bad thing’ she did was – but that’s completely not the focus of the book. As someone who usually reads stories with all sorts of twists and turns, it was really refreshing to read something that wasn’t necessarily about outcomes, but instead, a real character story. Despite her ‘bad thing’, it’s hard not to feel for Beth as her story unfolds.
As well as being a compelling story, All The Good Things also provides a commentary on real issues around family, the care system, relationships and the struggles of a single parent. It explores mental health, and the harsh, rarely heard realities that many women experience. Despite the dark themes and tragedy though, there’s an uplifting and heartwarming side to the stories – Beth’s resilience and strength shine through, particularly at the end of the book.
The chapters are quite short, so it’s really good to read on a shorter journey. They’re pretty much self-contained stories in themselves that feed into the main narrative, easy to dip in and out of. Although, chances are, you’ll want to read more. Maybe you could miss your stop on purpose, for just one more chapter…
Especially for a debut novel, All The Good Things really impressed me. It’s a little different to the types of books I usually read, but by the end I was hooked on its frankness and Beth’s character story. In this tale, not everything is black and white, people aren’t necessarily good or evil, and no matter what you’ve been through, it’s possible to find the good things if you just look hard enough.
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Wanna win your own advance proof copy (totally makes you look like a publisher type when you’re reading it on public transport)? Entry’s simple – just leave a blog comment below with something you’d put on your list of good things. My favourite answer wins a copy, so be creative, be funny, be heartwarming – whatever you like! Giveaway closes midnight 21 May.
All The Good Things is due for release on the 1st June 2017 through Penguin Books. Pre-order it now!
*I received a copy for review, and one to give away – all thoughts and words my own!