When Goose’s parents are killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve, his life changes utterly. Living with his increasingly senile Nan, his dog Mutt is the only thing keeping him sane. His only other friend is Frank, a former friend of his father. Frank’s own life is falling apart and he has recruited Goose to help him carry out petty theft around the city.
A year to the day since the accident that changed his life, Goose meets Anthony, a strange man who has forgotten who he is, but seems to know more about others than they know about themselves. When Mutt goes missing, Goose has no choice but to rely on Anthony to help find him.
In an adventure that draws in Frank, who’s lost his family, an old lady who’s lost a precious bangle, an elderly doctor who’s lost his wife and mother who’s lost her daughter, Goose follows Anthony across Manchester. But at the centre of the mystery is Anthony himself: who is he, how does he know so much and can he help Goose and the others find what they’re searching for?
A delight to read from start to finish, David Logan takes the reader on a terrific journey through love, loss and the quest for home.
I’m going to be honest. I picked up this book in the shop as I had been asked to review a children’s ‘Christmas themed’ book. I had never heard of this book or of the author but I’m a sucker for ‘topical’ reads just to see what all the fuss is about. This book drew me in, as had the headline, ‘Now a major film starring Eddie Izzard’ and thanks to the rather obvious title, was a quick win to meet the task at hand.
So, it was fair to say that I started reading this book feeling a bit ‘meh’ as it isn’t something that I would have chosen with no agenda. But thank goodness I did! By the end of the first chapter I had to bite back tears and actually stopped reading to think how I would have reacted as a mother in the same situation. Towards the end of the book I was a goner, my heartstrings well and truly yanked. To balance the sadness there’s more than a little magic, intrigue over ‘Anthony’s’ true identity and humour for his quirky personality and his tourettes like ability to share random facts. Did you know that Walt Disney was scared of mice for instance?
So what’s it all about? Well the story focuses around a young boy nicknamed Goose whom, on Christmas Eve, inadvertently sets off a chain of events that creates misery and loss for a number of people, whilst making him an orphan in the process. His grandmother, already experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer’s dementia is left to look after him.
One year on and he is withdrawn, isolated and is under probation for thieving whilst his grandmother’s health continues to deteriorate. If his life couldn’t get more bleak already, he then loses his beloved dog Mutt. Desperate to find his dog, he relies on a rather odd stranger (Anthony – well at least he thinks his name is Anthony as that’s what the badge says on his jacket!) who has an uncanny knack for finding lost things.
Whilst poring through the TV listings for the next fortnight I see that the film will be on BBC 1 on the 18th December 5:30pm and is given a 5* rating. As the book was based on the screenplay, I can understand why the film has a perfect rating and I will definitely be watching, albeit with a box of tissues and comfort eating chocs to hand!
Verdict: a perfect read for gearing up to Christmas. If you want to laugh, cry and root for characters to get their happy ending then this book is for you. Young and old independent readers alike.
Reviewed by Karen