Friday 5 June 2020

The Inconvenient Need To Belong - Paula Smedley || Blog Tour

In the summer of 1953, twenty-year-old Alfie steals away from his troubled childhood home in London to start a new life in Exeter. His own life. And at first it’s everything he ever dreamed it would be. For the first time in his life Alfie feels like he belongs.

Today, in a care home in the Midlands, eighty-six-year-old Alfie is struggling to come to terms with his dark past. Alfie’s story is one of regret, the mistakes we make, and the secrets even the most unassuming of us can hold.

But it is also a story about family, friendship, the things we should treasure and protect, and how the choices we make can shape our lives and the lives of others.

I have read a few books similar to this now, the older generation reminiscing about their life as they have secrets they need to share or something they need to resolve, it made me think of The curious charms of Arthur Pepper, the hundred year old man who climbed out the window & others but  The Inconvenient need to belong stood out so much more to me.

We follow Alfie over two different timelines - from 1953 when he left home in the middle of the night with his tools and not much else to make his own future. We also meet him in Pinewood care home as an old man who is grumbling about his routine and only ever enjoying Wednesday and Saturday. The two days that break up his routine. As on a Saturday he sneaks off to a park to chat about his life, and a Wednesday is library day - where he can get his book and use the computer.

I really enjoyed it, i loved getting discover younger Alfie and what made him into the man he is today. He really is the main character in this narrative, and everyone else is secondary. Despite him been grounchy, set in his ways and most of the time miserable therer is something about him that i warmed too. I knew there was so much i had yet to discover about Alfie.

It is a story about the importance of friendship, relationships and how we perceive ourselves as well as making sure we are aware of others around us and how we can impact them. In some pages it is sad, heartbreaking and there is a fairly few dark days but there is also some good, wonderful and happy days.

I found Paula really managed to strike a balance between these two. I feel the timeline was split equally so when we finished one section we wanted more, but then when we was Alfie in the present we didn't want to know about the past. This is when it really works for me.

I really really enjoyed this and devoured it in one sitting. It was so readable and i wanted to know more about Alfie. I felt that the narrative just flowed with natural progression to the story. It made for an enjoyable reading experience. It was just consuming. I really think everyone should read this, it hits you in the emotions.

Get it here here 

 Paula Smedley lives in London with her husband. She began writing at a very young age, winning acclaim and awards for her poetry and short stories. The Inconvenient Need to Belong is Paula’s debut novel. An extensive traveller, Paula has encountered vigilantes in Nigeria, escaped post-tsunami radiation in Japan, partied in a favela in Rio de Janeiro and left her debit card in a cashpoint in Sri Lanka. Twitter @_paulasmedley

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