I received a free copy of My Life in a Nutshell by Tanya J. Peterson in exchange for reviewing it on my blog. This review is being posted as a part of a promo blitz taking place today and you can see other reviews and posts about My Life in a Nutshell on the facebook event page.
Here’s the synopsis:
My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel is the story of one man’s struggles with debilitating anxiety.
Brian Cunningham has isolated himself to such a degree that his human contact is barely
more than an hour a day. While lonely, he feels powerless to change his life. Unexpectedly,
his safe little world is invaded by one Abigail Harris, a seven-year-old girl who, for the last
five years, has bounced from foster home to foster home. She has come to live with an aunt
and uncle she has never known. Unsure if she can trust her new environment, she turns to
Brian. Neither one quite knows how to live in the world. Can they possibly help each other?
I think maybe this synopsis might put some people off reading this book but don’t let it – it’s a great book and maybe the synopsis doesn’t do it justice. But at the same time a synopsis that did would probably be full of spoilers and we can’t have that. Just give it a try because it’s worth it. Tanya Peterson does a brilliant job of taking a difficult subject and doing it justice without making it boring, depressing or the sole point of the book. Brian and Abigail both have mental health conditions but they aren’t the be all and end all the book – they also have personalities, interests and an existance beyond that despite the impact these conditions have on all parts of their lives. If you’ve ever heard me on disabled characters in fiction you’ll know the “disability is all they are” trope is one that seriously annoys me. But this is avoided here.
The whole time I was reading My Life in a Nutshell it was reminding me of another book that I really liked last year and I had to hunt through my books on goodreads to determine the exact one it was as the title escaped me and it was bugging me (600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster). But despite my thinking for the first little bit that I wasn’t sure I was going to get on with My Life in a Nutshell I came to really like it after the first couple of chapters and actually if I had any one major criticism about it it would be that as yet it doesn’t have a sequel. Because in many ways it has the perfect ending with a twist I didn’t see coming (but probably should have) and great stuff. But I also really, really want to know what happens next. Or actually (I won’t say too much because of spoilers) it’s just come to me as I’m writing this that this is a book with a very interesting back story hinted at and a prequel would be a completely different thing yet work well. Lots of potential here.
I was supposed to have gone to see a friend of mine this morning but a disaster in the form of a boiler leaking and the need to wait for an engineer to come fix it put paid to that. Whilst I would rather have finished reading My Life in a Nutshell whilst on that train journey, it kept me happily occupied reading it in the garden this morning instead. And it drew me in so much it stopped me being annoyed and distracted every five minutes about the fact my plans were ruined and why wasn’t the engineer here yet. I just wanted to know what happened next and actually ended up setting an alarm on my phone for the time the engineer was meant to be here by so I didn’t lose track of time and could chase him if necessary.
Someone commented on one of my other book reviews a few weeks ago that they’d been looking for a new author and found one through my blog. I wasn’t particularly looking for a new author but I think I’ve found one in Tanya J Peterson and will be reading her previous books soon.