Tuesday, 11 May 2021

One Ordinary Day At A Time by Sarah J Harris @sarahsky23 @HarperFiction @flisssity @fictionpubteam #OneOrdinaryDayAtATime #BookReview


Behind every ordinary day, behind every ordinary story, there’s an extraordinary one just waiting to happen…

The uplifting, original new novel from the award-winning author of The Colour of Bee Larkham’s Murder.

Simon Sparks is the man you know from behind the counter at the local Prince Burger (‘hold the gherkin!’), fry shovelling, shelf stacking, hiding away from the world. And Jodie Brook is the single mum you see crossing the street with her son Zak – always chasing a dream she can’t reach.
What if life could be so much more? When Simon and Jodie’s worlds collide, it upends everything they know. But in chaos comes opportunity. And for every person who’s ever doubted them, they find someone who’ll finally believe…
From the award-winning author, Sarah J. Harris, comes a warm, uplifting story about ordinary people, extraordinary tomorrows, and all the ways that life can surprise us…

One Ordinary Day At A Time by Sarah J Harris is published on 10 June 2021 by Harper Collins. My thanks to the author and publisher who sent my copy for review.

Most of us will make a judgement about a person at first glance. As we get to know someone, our opinion will often change. What happens though if a person hides their true self, not only from those around them, but from themselves? How do we get to know someone when their life is based on hidden secrets, lies and a false exterior?

In One Ordinary Day At A Time, Sarah J Harris has created two such characters in Simon and Jodie. They are both prickly, and difficult to empathise with, but this is their own doing, and gradually, as we read on, we realise that both of them have created a hard shell around themselves, for protection from life.

Simon works at Prince Burger. He stands at the fryer, often burning the fries. His mind is usually filled with numbers and complex formulae as he is determined to solve the Reimann Hypothesis, and when he does, he will finally be worth something. Known as Prof, or Einstein, Simon doesn't have friends. He offends people very easily with his comments about their intelligence. Jodie wants to work at Prince Burger, a single mum who grew up in the care system and has suffered appalling abuse from a boyfriend, her one main aim in life is to get into Cambridge University to study English Literature, only then will she be finally worth something. Two very different people, but with an overwhelming need to be worth something, to anyone. 

Simon and Jodie judge each other. She thinks he's a rude, offhand nerd. He thinks she's a stupid girl with tattoos. Both of them are very wrong, and as they learn more about each other, they discover that they can help each other.

This is a wonderful story. The author deals with some dark and emotive themes, Simon's childhood has been one of constant abuse, with so many restrictions put on him. He is totally alienated from his remaining family, and lives with constant guilt and fear. Jodie's own childhood was fractured, moved from family to family, her only champion was school librarian Libby. Whilst her son Zak is the light of her life, his father is a cruel, violent man and Jodie is terrified that he will reappear soon. 

A story of a wonderful friendship between two people who have never been true to themselves, or to others. It is about missed opportunities and how events from our past have such an impact on how we live today. There are some heart-wrenching scenes of realisation and facing up to the truth, but it is filled with the joy of hope and looking forward. 

The star of the novel is young Zak who binds the friendship with his ever hopeful optimism and ability to see the good in people. There is no fooling a seven-year-old, and this is a lesson for us all about honesty and telling the truth. 

Witty, warm and uplifting, this is a novel that I will be recommending for a long time

Sarah J Harris is an author and freelance education journalist who regularly writes for national
Her debut adult novel, The Colour of Bee Larkham's Murder, was a Richard and Judy Book Club choice and won the breakthrough category in the Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2018.
Sarah lives in London with her husband and two children.

Twitter @sarahhsky23

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