I spent most of today reading this book. I was astonished by how good it was, by the ease and honesty with which Nicholls wrote about death in a form suitable for children and adults. This is what I am aim for in writing my novel. I like to read debut novels because the style is not too polished and as a new writer I find that inspiring.
Nicholls has a style which is her own and she employs a lot of techniques which I also employ, such as short sentences, dark humour and a loose sort of structure, interspersed between memory and the present.
My favourite thing about this book was that it was written by a twenty-three year old. I read it and I do not feel intimidated; I feel like I can do something similar within the next few years. I like that she studied at MA Creative Writing at Bath Spa, and I like that managed to convince people that reading a book from the perspective of a dying child would not be too depressing. I like that she has a degree in philosophy and this obviously informs what she writes. I like that her influences are Hilary McKay and Frank Cottrell Boyce. I even like her picture. I would like to be her friend. I left a nice comment on her website.
I am very excited by this book, and feel invigorated, and empowered to write more about child death in a way which is not wholly depressing or solely about how everyone heals and forgets.
The format is obviously such that she put it all together at the end. And it works. And it does not drag and nothing in it is boring. What brilliance!
Rock on, Sally Nicholls. I look forward to reading your next book, also about death. I hope one day, you will read mine.
(Note: you can go to the website and download the beginning of the book, and also read more praise which i wrote in the guestbook! http://www.waystoliveforever.co.uk/ )