Originally published: 8 November 2018
Author: Jo Worgan
Published by: Urbane Publications
Genre: Family drama
Length: 360 pages
Reading dates: 24-31 October 2018
Picking up the Pieces is the story of Kate, a stressed single mum of 6 year old Sam, who is autistic. She works as a journalist for a local newspaper, struggling to cope with life and the demands of Sam. Sam goes to a special school by taxi every day, but offers Kate very little communication and she has to rely on the school daily report to see how he is getting on. She is sad and lonely, with no family and her only friends are a fellow journalist and another mother of an autistic boy. Kate is scared of her ex partner Jake (who is also Sam’s father) who emotionally abused Kate. She escaped from him, changed her name and hasn’t seen him since Sam was a baby and the book starts in September 2013 as he makes contact for the first time having tracked her down. Understandably, Kate is frightened.
Matt is a newly divorced marine chemist who moves in next door to Kate. He works at the local University and aquarium and is trying to get over his ex wife, who is now remarried. One day Sam manages to get into Matt’s back garden – Kate panics when she can’t find him and is initially wary of Matt, but when it happens a second time, she invites him to dinner and they begin a tentative friendship. When Jake turns up at the house one day and speaks to Matt asking for someone called Holly, Matt tells Kate and she tells him her story and they become friends.
This is a great family drama story – Kate’s feelings really came across well. She is tired and frustrated as looking after Sam can be hard work and she has no support. I wanted to be her friend so I could support her and help look after her! Despite her difficulties, you don’t get a sense she really feels sorry for herself. She loves Sam dearly and will do anything to make him happy and to make his life as easy as possible – she is a great mum. I haven’t read many books that feature an autistic character and I felt this was written well (the author herself has an autistic child). I felt the writing could have perhaps have been a bit more polished at times but the threat of Jake coming back into the families life made me feel tense and worried for Kate and Sam. Matt was a lovely character (although I wish he’d just told his ex wife to get lost when she reappeared on the scene rather than giving her the time of day!) He is patient and wants to understand Sam and cares deeply for Kate.
Thank you to the author and Urbane Publications for sending me through an electronic copy of this book for the blog tour, and to Love Books Group for inviting me on the tour.
About the author:
Jo Worgan is a freelance copywriter, columnist and book blogger. She has published 4 non-fiction works aimed at parenting children on the Autistic spectrum, based upon her experiences as a mother of an autistic son. Writing is what she truly loves, and Picking up the Pieces is her second novel following her first, An Unextraordinary Life. Today Jo lives in Lancashire with her husband of 19 years and their two young sons. When she is not busy writing, she likes to take her boys to the local museums, cafes, cinema, the Lake District and lots of playgrounds.