24 April 2016
Book Review: Home by Matt Dunn
Then Josh finds himself unexpectedly detained in Derton, living in his cramped teenage bedroom, with simmering family tensions a little too close for comfort. Back amongst the old friends, old enemies, and old flames he left behind, he’s worried that some things may never change.
But is Derton the same place he couldn’t wait to escape from back then, full of failures and bitter memories, or has it been doing just fine without him? As Josh revisits his past, will he find that the only one who hasn’t moved on is him?
His London life is calling him back—but sometimes there’s no place like home..."
You can buy the book now.
I'm a big fan of Matt Dunn's books, so when I was contacted by Matt asking if I would review his latest book Home, I jumped at the chance! There's something really cool about the simplicity of the cover, and the book sounded interesting too, especially as it certainly rang true with me - I also moved away from where I grew up, and I think it would be strange if I found myself having to go back there for any length of time again. I got stuck in and started to enjoy the book, and honestly couldn't put it down.
Josh loves his life in London, he's got a nice girlfriend, friends all round and a cool job to boot. But when he gets a phone call saying that his dad is seriously ill and that he needs to return home to help his mum look after him, Josh does feel a pang of reluctance. He was happy to leave his hometown of Derton behind all those years ago, and hasn't looked back, but knows he has to help his Dad out in his time of need. When he arrives, he bumps into people he thought he had left behind many years ago, and is struggling to settle back into life with mum and dad once more. Josh is desperate to leave and get back to London once more, but he knows this might be the last chance he has to be at home...
As you can probably tell from the plot, this is quite an emotional book, and I actually found this hard to read at times, finding myself getting a bit overwhelmed and having to put it down for a small break. Of course, this wasn't a negative because Dunn's writing was so on point, it really hit home with me, and struck such a chord. Dunn puts across the emotion and gravitas of the situation perfectly, you almost feel like you are Josh, experiencing the plethora of emotions he is going through at any given time. His reluctance to go home wasn't at all surprising, but he really did seem to struggle with the idea of being back there and being judged on every little thing about him. A few old school friends get back in touch with Josh, and it's nice to see
Josh's relationship with his parents wasn't exactly perfect either, and this didn't always make for easy reading. As Josh comes to terms with how sick his father is, the pair try to repair the years of hurt between them, and this was a very touching side to the book. As the story progressed, Josh's dad became more and more poorly until the inevitable happened, and I'm not ashamed to admit I was in floods of tears, it really hit me hard. However, Dunn wrote this portion of the book perfectly, it was so hard to read yet I couldn't put it down because I was hooked on Josh's story, and seeing how he and his mother would get through this time together.
This was an absolute corker of a book, and I really do think it is the best book I have read by Matt Dunn to date. Matt Dunn manages to weave humour into what is a really emotional story, and this breaks up the very full-on feeling throughout. It captures the emotion, reluctance and fear of an adult going back home to deal with something that no child ever wants to deal with, the illness and demise of their parent, but is utterly compulsive reading. Yes, it was tough to read at times, yes it made me sob and made my heart hurt, but I really did enjoy the story and the many elements of it, from the relationship between Josh and his parents, that between him and his old school friends he thought he had left behind, and Josh's realisation that home really is where the heart is. A superb read.