Originally published: 30 May 2019
Author: Julian Sandrel
Published by: Quercus
Length: 224 pages
Reading dates: 24-26 May 2019
It’s never too late to love every day like it’s your last…
Thelma is the workaholic single mum of 12-year-old Louis. While travelling to meet Thelma’s mother, Louis has a skateboarding accident that leaves him in a coma. The doctors are not optimistic: they tell Thelma if he doesn’t wake up within the next four weeks, he will probably never wake up again.
Thelma is understandably devastated. While in his room at home, she finds a book which Louis has called The Book of Wonders. In it, he has started to write down some of the things he’d like to accomplish in life, things he wants to experience and places where he’d like to go.
She realises there is something she can do to try and bring Louis back – she will fulfil his wishes for him and document them, telling him about them so he can hear about all the fun she is having and try and fight for survival. With the help of a kindly nurse, Thelma sets up an iPad in his hospital room so Louis can hear all about his mum’s adventures.
What a wonderful message this book has – it really makes you realise what is important in life. Thelma soon realises that she has always been too busy to really enjoy her son and when she realises it might be too late, she is devastated. She has always been committed to her job at the expense of everything else – she even stays up late to finish a presentation on the day of the accident, although this is more down to shock than her being uncaring!
The things in The Book of Wonders make Thelma realise how much of life there is to live out there and she has fun on a trip to Tokyo with her mum. She doesn’t enjoy all the things Louis wants to do though – an intensive football course just about finishes her off!
Translated from French, this book still has a French feel to it. My only criticism is as a mother, I can’t imagine leaving my son seriously ill in a hospital to travel to Tokyo! But the premise and the message of the book is lovely and heart-warming. I was pleased it wasn’t predictable or too sentimental – I thought it was inspirational read that certainly made me re-evaluate what is important in my life.
Quercus have asked us to include our top 3 items on our bucket lists as part of the review so here we go:
- I’d love to travel more – there are loads of European cities I want to visit
- A cruise – I don’t even really mind where, just so long as I can eat all the food and sunbathe and read (and maybe see a few more places too!)
- To be invited to a publishing event of some kind and meet J K Rowling!
Many thanks to Millie at Quercus Books for sending me a proof copy for review. Lots of other lovely bloggers are talking about this book this week so be sure to check out their posts:
About the author:
Julien Sandrel was born in 1980 in the south of France, is married and has two children. The Book of Wonders is his first novel, and was first published in France by Calmann-Levy in March 2018. Rights to the novel have sold in twenty-three territories.