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What Milo Saw

Author : Virginia Macgregor
Paperback Published:  August 2015
Reviewed: August 2015

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Milo Moon, the little lad with a big heart, that will have you falling in love with him from the first chapter.

 

4 out of 5 stars

A cleverly written piece of contemporary fiction with humour, sadness, delight and grief thrown in to keep the reader on their toes.
Right from the start you find yourself rooting for the lovable nine year old Milo, you don’t quite know what his plight is on the first page, but you know already that you feel a need for things to work out well for him.  Only when you read more do you discover he has a degenerative eye condition, a deep rooted love for his Gran, and a unique outlook on things.
This is the sort of book that you will promise yourself ‘just one more chapter’ before you do the dishes, and find yourself hours later curled up still chuckling away at something said, or crying out for justice for those who can’t win. 

Milo lives in Slipton with his mum Sandy, Gran Lou & Hamlet his pet pig.  The story opens with the aftermath of a house fire caused by Gran trying to make tea.  Deciding that caring for 92 year old Gran who suffers with dementia, Sandy decides it’s time for Lou to go into a home for appropriate care that cannot be provided at home, but to Milo this is betrayal.  To him, his mum is shipping his Gran off and he will do everything in his power to slow proceedings.  When that doesn’t work, he hatches a plan to bring her back home where he believes she belongs.  The story continues with Milo’s struggles to understand why Gran has to be in the nursing home, named “Forget Me Not” and his determination and perseverance to spring her from there.
As the story progresses more characters are introduced, Tripi a Syrian refugee working as the cook at Forget Me Not, the whistling neighbour Mr Overland,  Al (aka Clouds) working as an undercover journalist who is also family & Nurse Thornhill the director of Forget Me Not, as well as the residents of the Home and various minor characters who all play an important role helping the story move steadily along, and gave a better understanding of the story and events.

Without wanting to ruin the story for readers, I’ll not post spoilers, I certainly would not have wanted to find out the ending before joining Milo on his journey so I will avoid taking that from you, but what I will say is that seeing things from a nine year old’s perspective, the black and white view of reality is brutal at times, the disappointment that a nine year old can feel with an adult was painful at times to read.

This book had enough to hold my interest without overloading me with too much information, the plot was structured so I had to find out what happened next, how it would end and the charm of Milo made me stop and think.  There’s a lighthearted thread running through this book, which makes it an easy read, but very enjoyable.  The descriptions are good, you can almost see the fairy lights on the stairs, see Hamlet with his different coloured ears, and taste the baklava, you can imagine the characters, especially the ones where the descriptions are given by young Milo, his unfailing logic and perception add something to the description of Mrs Hairy! 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a good enjoyable piece of fiction, or something as an easy read, i.e. that can be picked up and put down (if you can!) without losing track of what’s happening.  For me, finishing this book was both happy and sad, happy that things had worked out for some, but sad at how it ended for others, but it made me wonder what it would be like to be more like Milo, see what else is there, concentrate on the other things that are there and ask why. 

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The song jumped into my head the other day in one of those deep thinking philosophical moments.  Village life can be quite lonely, in a “you don’t see many people going about” sort of way, but then as it’s the school holidays I don’t suspect that many people will be in the village, instead opting for a summer break whilst they can.

Last week was one of those where you think about doing a whole list of things, but actually when it gets down to it, you do none of them but instead enjoy just doing what you can.  Monkey child is finding her feet, which as cute as it is, is somewhat slightly alarming now that nothing will be safe ever again!!  Poor dogs are running scared of the crawling monster that tries to chase them, I am her usual choice of climbing frame (oh joy!) and she is standing and pulling herself up at every opportunity that presents itself.  I did jokingly say to family that I think she’d be walking before she was 1, but I’d really like her to stop being all grown up and be my wee baby again hahaha
I’m still in disbelief that my little baby will be 1 in less than 2 months now, where has this past year gone!?

Did something brave today, came back from our usual walk round the village and decided that I’d go grab the car keys and we’d head to the next village to get cream for the red bit under the teething monster’s chin.  This is big for me, I don’t tend to get in the car unless I plan where I’m going, know exactly where I’m going, that there’s space to park and so on and so on (see a trend here!?) but anyway we did it, got in the car and headed to the pharmacy.  Cue the panic at the tight bends in the next village,  having to pull in between cars to let people passed on the narrow streets, then parking in a car park that was new and narrow so a 9 point turn was needed to turn the car round and park somewhere that no one else would park beside me haha but I did it, and it’s a victory for me.  It may seem silly, but I really am proud of that, it took courage to do it, and right now I’m low on courage.  There are too many “mood hoovers*” out there who would dampen that moment for me but to them, I say a resounding childish “pffffffffffffffffffffft!”

Whilst I was too lazy to blog anything last week I did stumble upon some interesting tweets and have offered to review a book on this ol’ blog.  Always toyed with the idea of writing reviews of the copious books I’ve read, so embarking on a literary journey as well as a rambling (sometimes knitted related) – wish me luck!

Once the copy of What Milo Saw arrives I’ll have a review posted asap!

*to quote a friend of mine, she hit the nail on the head with that phrase.

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