Publisher: Pan Macmillan/Mantle
Publication Date: 19th April 2018
Firstly thank you to Pan Macmillan and Katie James for the advanced proof copy of this book.
Little Big Man tells the story of 10 year old Zac, a sweet boy living with his single parent mum Juliet on a housing estate in Grimsby. Zac’s father up and left him when he was just a few weeks old and very little has been said about him since, in fact Zac has always been told that his father Liam left before he was even born and never actually laid eyes on him. Juliet struggles to cope on her own, bringing Zac up and tentatively trying to avoid any questions he may have surrounding his father leaving.
Zac knows that his grandparents have no respect for Liam his father and is left wondering why. Zac is determined to bring his father back into his life and possibly make his Mum happy after she drunkenly one night after a disasterous date let’s it slip that Liam is the only man she’s ever loved.
However linked into their story are secrets from the past. Juliet’s brother Jamie tragically died around the time Liam left town and through the perspective of Mick, Juliet’s father and Zac’s grandfather we learn about the events leading up to and surrounding this tragedy.
Zac also has the daily struggles of school life to cope with. A victim of bullying due to his weight, he only really has one close friend Teagan, who lives on the housing estate near him and who he enlists to help him with his mission to find his dad.
Firstly, the characters in this book are extremely relatable and authentic. Juliet is ultimately a mother who clearly loves her child with all her heart and is doing her utmost to protect him. She too struggles with her weight and her relationship with her parents due to the events of the past surrounding the death of her brother and the links with Liam. I enjoyed the fact that she isn’t perfect and has her flaws like most parents do.
The relationships in this book are very true to life, perfectly pitched and totally relatable and believable. The pacing is also perfect, little drops of the past embedded in the present day story, which is something I always enjoy. I love seeing how events from the past shape people and families and this family has ultimately been changed beyond recognition.
I have to say that I don’t always enjoy reading stories from a child’s perspective but Zac’s voice is so genuine and engaging that I adored his chapters. He is such a delightful little boy, brimming with love and humour, and despite there being many heartbreaking moments Zac’s is such a refreshing voice to read.
Of course there are themes of loss, grief, hidden family secrets and loneliness in this book but ultimately there are even stronger threads of love, be that familial love, romantic love or friendship.
This is a massively uplifting, heartwarming, life affirming tale that I urge everyone to read.
I’m glad I had the chance to read and review it.
See you soon.
Bookish Chat xxx