I don’t often repost my reviews on here, but sometimes I make an exception if I think that the book is really worth shouting about. Home by Amanda Berriman is one of those books. I read it in 2018 and loved it, the book also made it onto my Top Reads 2018 list.
Home really is an amazing debut and it touched me in places that not many books get near. This blog tour is marking the release of this book in paperback, so finally those of you that don’t read e-books can read Home! Lucky you because you’re in for a treat, but don’t forget the tissues!
When I read the blurb for Home I knew that I wanted to read it, I then started to hear from others who had read it and they all seemed to love it so I was even more determined to read it. And I’m so pleased that I did.
From literally the very first page I was hooked. The book is narrated by Jesika, a four year old who lives with her Mummy and little brother Toby after her Father moved to Poland, never to be heard from again. Jesika’s Mum is struggling with life, she doesn’t have enough money and they live in a flat that’s got many things wrong with it, including mold. As a result Toby and their Mum both have a bad cough that won’t go away. Life is about to get very difficult for Jesika.
A book narrated by such a young child could easily be awful but thankfully that is not the case here, not even close. It is written in a simple language but I really liked that. From the very start Jesika worked her way into my heart, she was such a wonderful little girl who felt so very real. Her innocence was wonderful and I loved seeing her world through her eyes, but this isn’t always an easy book to read.
Home gives a brilliant example of how grooming happens, the subtleties and ways in which an adult will convince a child to keep secrets for them. While it is not easy to read I thought that Amanda Berriman handled it sensitively and realistically, something that is impressive for any author, let along a debut author. But some will find this very difficult to read so be warned.
But despite this darkness, there is much light in the book. The love that Jesika has for her Mother is wonderful, but also for her little brother Toby. Jesika really is a special little girl who unknowingly brings out the best in people.
Home had me going to bed early so that I could read and check in on Jesika because I’d be worried about her and how she was doing, that is how real that she felt to me. When I finished the book at 2am I felt as though my heart had been shattered by little Jesika and what she went through, but filled with hope that her life was going to get better. The most upsetting thing? That I won’t get to check in on Jesika again and see how she is doing. Home really is a special book and for a debut author it is nothing short of brilliant.
Jesika is four and a half.
She lives in a flat with her mother and baby brother and she knows a lot.
She knows their flat is high up and the stairs are smelly. She knows she shouldn’t draw on the peeling wallpaper or touch the broken window. And she knows she loves her mummy and baby brother Toby.
She does not know that their landlord is threatening to evict them and that Toby’s cough is go-ing to get much worse. Or that Paige, her new best friend, has a secret that will explode their world.
Home is narrated by 4 year old Jesika, whose voice is incredibly recognisable and remarkably compelling. The author, Amanda Berriman, is a primary school teacher and has captured the voice of a young child perfectly.
Home is for those who love powerful, challenging novels that force us to question the world around us.
Perfect for fans of Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon, John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Emma O’Donoghue’s Room.
About The Author:
Amanda was born in Germany and grew up in Edinburgh, reading books, playing music, writing stories and climbing hills. She works as a primary school teacher and lives on the edge of the Peak District with her husband, two children and two dogs. Follow Amanda on Twitter at @MandyBerriman