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Sharp, poignant and amusing, this is a beautifully observed novel about growing up during the 80’s as a child of divorced parents. The prologue is short, quirky and full of feeling, it sets the stage perfectly for what is to come. 12 year old Harper is different, her friends include her dictionary, a lady riddled with dementia, and the (dead) occupants of a graveyard. Julia Forster writes with a light, yet spiky and witty touch, however deeper darker tones lie in wait. The descriptive detail is stunning, images danced across my consciousness as I read. The humour slides across the page, there were parts that made me belly laugh out loud and others that caused me to wince, to pause and think. ‘What a Way To Go" touches on pain, death and sadness, yet the unpredictable, entertaining and often ludicrous side of life shines through, this is a wonderfully engaging debut, and I highly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson
1988. 12-year-old Harper Richardson's parents are divorced. Her mum got custody of her, the Mini, and five hundred tins of baked beans. Her dad got a mouldering cottage in a Midlands backwater village and default membership of the Lone Rangers single parents' club. Harper got questionable dress sense, a zest for life, two gerbils, and her Chambers dictionary, and the responsibility of fixing her parents' broken hearts...Set against a backdrop of high hairdos and higher interest rates, pop music and puberty, divorce and death, What a Way to Go is a warm, wise and witty tale of one girl tackling the business of growing up while those around her try not to fall apart.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.
'What a fabulous novel! So fresh, touching, truthful and laugh-out-loud funny. I absolutely loved it.' -- Deborah Moggach
'I hugely, entirely enjoyed this book. What a Way to Go is richly transporting - and so funny, and so moving. Julia Forster has all the marks of a prize-winning novelist; you know it from the first pages.' -- Horatio Clare
'A brilliant debut. Sharp, sweet, bristling with wit and full of hilarious, wildly imaginative observations. In Harper Julia Forster has created a bold and distinctive 12 year old voice that manages to be nostalgic and authentic at the same time.' -- Emma Jane Unsworth, author of 'Animals
'I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Harper is such a lovable, funny character, and seeing the the 1980s through her eyes is both moving and revealing. I loved the 'mis-en-scene' of Blackbrake, the whole small town atmosphere where the skies are as grey as her 'school uniform', and I thought the monstrously selfish but somehow sympathetic Mum is a great comic creation. Above all, I thought Harper's tone was perfectly judged, that mix of knowingness, naivete, and humour was great. It deserves to do really well. I will put a 5 star review on Amazon!' -- Francis Gilbert
'I haven't enjoyed a book this much in ages. It's wonderful... Harper [is] an amazing protagonist - all the things I wanted to be at that age but probably never was - bright, funny, inquisitive, happy in her own skin.' -- Megan Bradbury, author of 'Everyone Is Watching'
Publication date: 05/01/2017
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Publication date: 07/01/2016
Publisher: Atlantic Books
|Publication date:||5th January 2017|
|Genres:||Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups, Relationship Stories,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Julia Forster was born and raised in the Midlands. She studied Philosophy and Literature at the University of Warwick and has a Masters in Creative Writing from St Andrews University. While at the University of Warwick, she was awarded the Derek Walcott prize for creative writing. She works in publishing, but has also been a magician's assistant in Brooklyn, a nanny in Milan and a waitress in Chartres. Julia now lives in mid Wales with her husband and two young children. Author photo © Alice HendyMore About Julia Forster