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How Not to Disappear Hardcover – January 28, 2016
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Just as emotional, warm and life-affirming as Clare Furniss' debut, The Year of the Rat . . . subtle but powerful . . . How Not to Disappear is another beautiful novel from Clare Furniss. It talks of love, family and the defining nature of memories in a way that is completely pitch-perfect. * So Many Books, So Little Time * A really heartfelt book which has a lot to say about family and its importance. I thoroughly recommend it. -- Kirsty, The Overflowing Library * Goodreads * I enjoyed the honesty of it and the way in which sadness and joy are presented as two sides of the same coin. I enjoyed the acknowledgement that love doesn't always conquer all . . . But mostly I enjoyed the growing relationship between two women, one looking back over a life and one looking towards a life yet to come. Recommended. * The Bookbag * An absolutely gorgeous, heartfelt and incredibly enjoyable follow up to The Year of the Rat ... Clare writes about serious subjects lightly but with real feeling, and conveys family relationships so well. -- Robin Stevens, author of Murder Most Unladylike Hattie and Gloria are such fantastic central characters. What a lovely, lovely book! -- Lisa Williamson, author of The Art of Being Normal This novel, encompassing violence to women, changing attitudes to unmarried mothers, and many kinds of love, is funny, sharply observed, shocking and wonderful. -- Nicolette Jones * The Sunday Times * This isn't the first YA novel to incorporate dementia as a plot device, but it's gloriously funny, deeply emotional and a triumph. -- Sally Morris * Daily Mail * Emotional, moving and thought provoking, and I loved it. * The Sun *
About the Author
Clare Furniss grew up in London and moved to Birmingham in her teens. After brief stints as a waitress, a shop assistant and working at the Shakespeare Centre Library, she studied at Cambridge and Aberdeen. Clare went on to work in media relations and is now a full-time writer living in Bath. You can follow her on Twitter @clarefurniss and find out more information on her website www.clarefurniss.com.
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√. A thought that stuck with me while I was reading this was how Hattie was such a strong female character without having to be physical fighter. Her strength came from feeling her emotions, feeling scared and being brave enough to hold her head high, empathise with those around her, and carry on.
√. Similarly, I really liked Gloria. She completely didn't fit the stereotype of the old lady, sporting garish clothes, heavy makeup and a taste for champagne rather than tea. As with all of the characters in this book, she wasn't two dimensional at all. Every time you thought you knew everything about her, something else was thrown in to enrich either her character or the plot. And all the while, she didn't become the plot of her dementia, which made it even more emotional.
√. Despite the characters being so great, it was the message that really did it for me with this book. Like I said earlier, the emphasis isn't on shutting out the world and not being scared, it's about feeling it and being brave because of it. The message wasn't just directed at Hattie either - it was used in relation to the secondary characters too, whether it be Reuben or Hattie's family. I just thought it was great that it wasn't complete tunnel vision on Hattie and that the other characters mattered too.
√. No preaching. That is a major positive of this book. The topic of abortion and adoption is discussed and considered by Hattie but it never sounds like the author wants you to take a particular standpoint on whether you should agree or disagree with it. I am pro choice (with conditions) but never felt like my opinion was portrayed as being wrong or right. In that way, I think this book can be for everyone, no matter what your views are.
√. The writing and the characters in this book make it seem like it is beyond YA, really. I noticed a few other reviewers have said this and I completely agree that Hattie's maturity and darker subject matters are more New Adult. It can be a positive or a negative depending on your comfort zone but if you don't feel ready to branch out from YA, this could be a great transitional book. Give it a try!
✘. There are flashbacks to the fifties and sixties in this book when exploring Gloria's past, and those include racist language and domestic abuse. Just a heads up if you are sensitive to that kind of language. If it upsets you, you might want to give this one a miss.
This book is so under-appreciated! It was really great!