Monday, March 15, 2021

Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding

Tommy's mother is too much for Sonya. Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy's life is in her hands. Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O'Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy - forever.

I received a copy of this from the publisher Bloomsbury Publishing, and Negalley in return for an honest review. 

I requested this book as soon as I saw someone compared it to Shuggie Bain, which is my favourite book ever, and although it is similar, it stands its own and is brilliant.

The story is based on Sonya, and is all told from her point of view, and her 4 year old son Tommy. Sonya is an alcoholic, and is living alone with Tommy and their dog Herbie. She loves Tommy, that much you can tell and feel from the pages, but the pull of the alcohol is too much and it takes over, the bad fairy comes out and it makes things seem more important than her son, or herself.  

A neighbour and Tonya’s father intervene, and she goes to a rehab facility which is ran by nuns. You can see how much she wants to succeed and live a good life, Tommy by her side, but it’s not going to be easy, and the pain I feel for her was real. 

Poor Tommy, growing up in such a bad environment, bringing his drunk hungover mam water in the mornings, not eating enough so much that his tummy hurts. But boy when he visited her, did my heart break for him. 

This book will pull at your emotions hugely, feel anger and sorrow for Tonya, and probably make you cry, I did.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing and Netgalley for the advance ebook, and as always the author, Lisa Harding.

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