Friday 13 March 2020

One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips BLOG TOUR @eliistender10 @unbounders #GuestReview @jaustenrulesok #RandomThingsTours

He will be allowed to visit his mother soon. His mother who is terminally ill, his mother who he has been barred from seeing as he recovers from his own bout of pneumonia. Until then, with the help of his physiotherapist Freya, he must navigate his increasingly empty and isolated existence: his father, who finds solace in the bottom of a glass; his Nana Q, whose betting-slip confetti litters her handbag; his friends, who simply wouldn't understand. Time passes with the promise of soon, but one hundred and fifty-two days later the boy will come face to face with his grief, and move beyond to a world full of possibility, hope and love.

One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips was published on 5 March 2020 by Unbound.

I'm delighted to welcome guest reviewer Louise Wykes to Random Things today, she's sharing her review of the book for the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

You can find Louise on Twitter @jaustenrulesok

Louise's Review of One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days  
One Hundred and Fifty-two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips was published on 5th March 2020 by Unbound. I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to review and Anne Cater for agreeing to host my review. 

I have to make a confession that I have never read a book of poetry in my life before. I’ve read poems that I studied at school and looked up poems on the internet that I may have heard on the radio or seen in a tv programme or a film. I honestly am quite scared of the genre of poetry as a whole. I feel the pressure that there should be some hidden meaning in the words that I won’t as a reader be able to identify and find myself lacking so the idea of a novel told in verse seemed a happy compromise for me to make on my first venture into poetry. Also when I found out that the author was a man who I follow on Twitter because his tweets are so warm, so kind and compassionate, I knew I wanted to find out more. 

The novel is told in verse so I think it is wise to read the poems in the order that they are printed although the timeline of the poems jumps back and forth. Some of the poems have the phrase “Day” followed by a number which I was intrigued to know what they meant and consequently discovered that the days refer to the amount of time since the narrator (who is never named) last saw his mother. 

The novel is the account of a young boy whom I am guessing is about 12 or 13 whose mother is in hospital suffering with cancer which is terminal. The boy is not allowed to see his mum in hospital as he is still suffering the ill effects of pneumonia so cannot be in direct contact with her. The boy is also witnessing the descent of his father into alcoholism and witness to his Nana Q’s obsession with gambling in its many forms. 

I think the novel in verse form worked well with this type of story. Such huge emotions are perfectly encapsulated in the various rhythms of each poem. There is repetition which echo the enormous thoughts that must be going through the narrator’s mind, he’s losing both his parents in different ways and feeling alienated from his friends at school. Then he discovers the joys and the agonies of his first love for his physiotherapist Freya who helps him try to recover physically, though ultimately she helps him recover emotionally too.

“I could listen to her for hours.
Everything sounds like a story,
a novel;
a poem.

I want to know it all.”

For such a slim volume of work, this book contains a whole world of emotion. The narrator’s gradual descent into depression just tugs on the reader’s heartstrings and as someone who lives with depression I can say that the emotional depth in this book rings true. 

For readers who are unfamiliar with poetry, I recommend you take the leap into verse with this elegantly concise and beautiful work that is full of hope, warmth and compassion. Just exquisite.

Giles Paley-Phillips, is the Award-Winning Author of The Fearsome Beastie, winner of The People's Book Prize 2012, Heart of Hawick Children's Book Award 2013, Bizziebaby Gold Award, The US Forward National Literary Award and Shortlisted for The Rotherham Children's Book Award 2012 Tamara Small and the Monsters' Ball is shortlisted for The People's Book Prize 2013. He has written several picture books, including Things You Never Knew About Dinosaurs, Princess Stay Awake and a collection of nonsense poetry. Giles' first novel for adults One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days come out in March 2020. Giles' is co-host and producer of the award-nominated Blank Podcast and regularly writes for Aquila Magazine.
Giles lives with his wife and two sons in East Sussex

Twitter @eliistender10

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