Published by: Transworld
Publication Date: 8th February 2018
What first drew me to requesting this book on Netgalley was this:
The fact that this book was told from the perspective of a 4 and a half year old girl, written in her voice, down to the incorrect spelling and pronunciation of words intrigued me.
I knew from the blurb and a handful of reviews I’d read that this wasn’t going to be an easy breezy read. Jesika is (as mentioned) a four and a half year old girl, living in a run down flat with her Mum and baby brother Toby. They live under the constant threat of eviction by their landlord or the ‘Money Man’ as Jesika dubs him. They have very little money and countless problems with the flat, broken windows, mould on the walls making them ill and discarded needles in the stairwell etc etc.
Life through Jesika’s eyes is taken childishly at face value. She’s navigating the complicated world of grown-ups, finding her feet at pre-school and trying to cement her friendship with new girl Paige.
But Paige has a secret that Jesika knows she should tell her Mum about, but is too frightened to.
This book was very reminiscent to me of Emma Donoghue’s Room and also has a slight My Name Is Leon vibe. Seeing the world through a child’s eyes can be both illuminating and heartbreaking. This book is definitely heartbreaking.
As soon as I knew which direction this story was taking I had to stop and take a breather. It was like a sickness creeping over me that I was trying to keep at bay. My stomach turned. (Very dramatic there Mand!). I’ve seen other reviews where the reader said they almost stopped reading but felt they owed it to Jesika to carry on and see her story through.
I find it hard to say that I ‘enjoyed’ a book which addresses such a hard hitting subject matter but I did enjoy this book. If I’m honest there were times I had to break away due to the writing style. Reading the voice of a child was a little draining at times and I had to get a fix of an adult voice by reading something else for a while.
This book is gut wrenching but ultimately hopeful. You find yourself rooting for little Jesika and equally her downtrodden Mum Tina. This family clearly needs a break in life and you’re willing them on to find happiness. If Jesika were real you’d want to scoop her up in your arms and take care of her. She’s such a strong character who remains with you long after you’ve finished the book.
As I’ve said, it’s not an easy read but I thoroughly recommend that you do
See you soon.
Bookish Chat xxx