thoughts and things

The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah Book Review

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book via NetGalley

Here’s The Blurb:

A striking literary debut of love and mortality perfect for fans of quirky, heart-wrenching fiction like Nathan Filer, David Nicholls and Rachel Joyce.

Ivo fell for her.

He fell for a girl he can’t get back.

Now he’s hoping for something.

While he waits he plays a game:

He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away.

He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her.

But he doesn’t have long.

And he still has one thing left to do …

This is a brilliant book, told through the eyes of Ivor, who is in a hospice. I found the structure of the book a great idea; it’s told through the A-Z of Ivor’s body parts, each telling a part of the story of his life, and his love with Mia. Diagnosed with diabetes, he doesn’t look after his body and makes unwise decisions which ultimately lead to tragedy.

Throughout the book you are waiting to find out how Ivo got to where he is; and many times he seems to blame others for what happens to him, but through the story I felt that there was a lot of questions that Ivo really need to ask himself. There is a lot of emotion in the book, and I was a bit tearful towards the end. 

His relationship with Mia is the defining moment of his life; once he meets her, he falls in love and as he waits in the Hospice, we hear of how they met, and what their lives were like. His friends are different to Mia and Ivo struggles to balance his friendship with his relationship, at times making the wrong decisions. At times I almost wanted to shout at him for making the wrong choices. 

You get to know Ivo as his story unfolds. Things are sometimes told out of order and it draws you into the story, wanting to know how things occurred. It’s interesting as we see things from Ivo’s point of view, and how he saw the situation, as well as some interaction between characters in the modern day. Slowly as the reader you start to understand what has happened and what effect that this has had on Ivo and his life. 

I also felt the story highlighted the health issue related to diabetes well (this is the nurse in me talking here) and showing the consequences of mismanaging diabetes and what that can mean for somebody. Ultimately you could say that at 40, Ivo wouldn’t be in a hospice if he had managed his diabetes better, and lived a healthier life. The book opens up an interesting debate about lifestyle, the effect of relationships and social elements in our decision making related to our lifestyle choices, and the consequences of this. It also makes me think about us owning our decisions and mistakes, it is us who decides to live how we do, drink, eat, smoke etc, and can we or should we blame friends or peer pressure for the consequences? 

This is a really engrossing, interesting read and a book I just couldn’t put down. I really enjoyed this book and would give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah is published by Doubleday and released on March 12

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