He was our star, we circled in uneasy orbit. Mum was a moon; I sometimes felt like a small piece of space junk.”Emma
This story is about Emma, a girl who on the surface seems to have the perfect life, but in reality struggles to deal with the consequences of her parents’ life choices. She spends her whole childhood wondering why her famous actor father would ever marry her neurotic mother, and why he would choose to isolate them to a small town in Scotland while he travels the world without them. We follow Emma from childhood into adulthood, through tragedy and heartbreak, while she attempts to find herself in a world set on sticking a label on everyone.
I then decide that I must still have all sorts of panoramas ahead of me, uncharted possibilities to be explored, and maybe that’s what life is all about: to journey, rather than find landfall, because the sea is empty of bad intentions and the land is full of bad people. That’s why I like to look at the sea…”emma
I found Emma’s inner dialogue and narration hilarious and entertaining, and it only gets better as she gets older. There was a scene where she attended a Christmas school play which honestly was one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever read. There’s also this other narrative where Emma is having an argument with a guy during a parade which is absolutely brilliant as well.
Leith is now a place of reinvention where dockyard pubs, within which taciturn men silently drink beer and whisky, sit side by side with wine bars serving chardonnay on tap.”emma
Laidlaw’s descriptions of people and places were original and easy to picture. I loved Emma’s grandpa Alberto with his temperamental mustache. I enjoyed reading about her friend Patsy, who was so full of life that I sometimes envied her, and I’m sure at times Emma was jealous of her as well. I especially liked Knox, the prickly anti-social toilet trained cat.
I want to be my own little planet, bustling quietly around the universe; I don’t want to be in someone else’s orbit…”emma
This book was something else. I accepted an ARC from the author, Charlie Laidlaw, after reading a short description of the book and thinking it was interesting enough, and I needed some light reading. However, this was not in any way light, and I was not expecting to be totally blown away by it. This story was deep and profoundly real. It delves into hard topics such as suicide, depression, and anxiety, while also inserting humor in all the right places. I would recommend it to anyone wishing to learn more about what it means to be alive.
Charlie Laidlaw’s book releases June 20, 2019.