The issues I face with writing a review include how to avoid spoilers and how to share one’s enthusiasm without coming across as a distant relative of Annie Wilkes, though for the record the closest I’d get to telling Patrick Gale quite how much I love his books is by writing a blog and I’d politely invite him to my home.
I have read A Place Called Winter and seen The Man In The Orange Shirt and loved them both. My friends Kevin and John rave about Patrick Gale and they are not alone. Everyone I have spoken to loves a good Patrick Gale and Take Nothing With You is good, no actually it is better than good. Much better than good.
In Take Nothing With You we meet Eustace, recently diagnosed with thyroid cancer, who at the age of 50 falls in love with, though has yet to meet, Theo who is serving overseas. His treatment involves a radiation chamber where he is instructed to “take nothing with you”. This took me back to when Granny Valley was going through thyroid cancer treatment at the same time my sister in law was being treated for ocular melanoma. While in his chamber he listens to recordings of cello music performed by his childhood friend Naomi and it is this cello music that stirs his memories.
As he begins his treatment he starts reminiscing about his childhood in Weston super Mare, where he lives with his parents in an old people's home, we learn more about the characters and events that shaped him. With every chapter there’s something amusing, thought provoking and a smidge emotional.
The reason it took me so long to read was because I read, digested and savoured every word. Even a full stop had something to say. And also because I loved it and didn’t want it to end. It stirred so many memories and was so beautifully written. As Patrick Gale consistently does.
I burst out laughing at the mention of George Best - my granny had no interest in football yet had a photo of George Best in her kitchen. She was also an avid tennis fan and used to hunker down and discourage visitors during Wimbledon, there was one exception. Me. Rebel.
Take Nothing With You is beautiful look into Eustace’s memories which will no doubt trigger yours, it's a heartwarming read. I savoured every word, you will too.
Thank you so much to Georgina Moore at Publicity Books for sending me a review copy. Thank you Tinder Press for publishing such a beautiful book and Patrick, thank you for once again writing so beautifully and brilliantly. With every word you wrote I took something from you. Oh and if you are ever in Wokingham or Crickhowell do let me know and I will pour you a large drink and ask you to sign my copy.
Take Nothing With You by Patrick Gale was published on 21st August by Tinder Press and is available from all bookshops, if they haven’t got it in stock they will gladly order it for you.