This one made a deep emotional impact on me – it’s the only book I can honestly say made me teary eyed – twice! On reading the first few pages, I thought it felt very much like Kate Atkinson’s Behind The Scenes At The Museum, another book which made a big impact. It also had similar emotional overtones of A Man Called Ove.
The prologue introduces Dora and Leonard Judd, parents of Ellis, while Dora is still pregnant with Ellis. It is only a short prologue but gives an insight of the early life Ellis would have had and his mother’s strength of character.
The first half of the book is written in third person of Ellis – Tin Man – so called because he works in Tinny Bay, the area of the car factory which knocks out dents of car panels. It took me a short while to get used to the minimalist punctuation of the writing style – no speech marks so therefore had to concentrate on who was speaking. We go back and forth through Ellis’s life, back to a young teen when he first met Michael after both boys became motherless. Their bond and closeness started immediately and never left either of them, even when Ellis met his darling Annie.
In the second half of the book the writing switches to first person and we hear Michael’s very sad and detailed account of his life with and without Ellis. Throughout the book, particularly for Michael although it is Ellis who is the artist, a print of one of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers paintings which Dora won in a raffle in the prologue, features strongly.
I really don’t want to give too much of the story away because this isn’t a book of plots and twists, it’s the discovery of self and each other, so you really need to experience this for yourself. You may already have guessed or some might like to take this as a ‘warning’ that the story is mostly of gay love, not graphic, but so delicately and sensitively told.
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