It’s my turn on the BlogTour Songs for Your Mother by Gordon MacMillan.
About the Author
Gordon Macmillan is a debut novelist and former journalist who now works for Twitter in London. Follow @GordonMacMillan on Twitter.
About the book
I’m greeted by the strangest sight. A small dark-haired boy is standing there. It’s like he’s a human parcel, delivered to my front door. ‘My name is Luke,’ he says. When Johnny meets Lauren in a bar in Santa Cruz, there’s an instant connection. On an American road trip with best friend Will, Johnny promises to return to the girl who has stolen his heart.
Until tragedy strikes, forcing Johnny to fly back home without ever seeing Lauren again. Six years later, Johnny is living his life in London, even if he’s never forgotten the girl with the grey eyes and dark hair.
Until one September morning, he opens his door to find a little boy standing there – a child, Johnny quickly comes to learn, who was created that one magical night. Lauren is dying, and her last wish is to reunite five-year-old Luke with the father he doesn’t yet know.
Thrown into unexpected parenthood, Johnny finds himself navigating school-gate politics, Disney movies and tantrums, guided by the notes Lauren has written for him.
Life as an instant dad isn’t always easy, but as Johnny and Luke open their hearts to each other, Johnny is about to discover that life’s joy isn’t always where you expected it.
It’s a night that changed everything. Boy meets girl, girl and boy hook up and life gets complicated. In what can only be described as a love at first sight and a lifetime of regrets story, because neither of them returned to that special connection to explore what could have been and instead have to deal with what is instead.
Years later and Johnny gets a special doorstop delivery courtesy of the best friend stork transport and has to revaluate what is important in his life. Is there some way to repair the past and not make a little boy suffer the consequences of two people who were too invested in their own version of a real life romcom to realise he isn’t a character in a film. He is a living breathing child who deserves some accountability from his parents.
This is a combination of the nostalgic and tragic tone of The Book of Us by Andrea Michael and the humour of Big Daddy. The author balances the two elements perfectly to create an emotional and yet often quite lighthearted read. It’s never too over the top tragic or ridiculously hilarious.
It had a bit of a YA flair given the way Lauren and Johnny meet and their ages respectively both before and after, and the general voice of the story. That doesn’t detract from the gist of premise, but perhaps gives the book a chance to slide into other demographics too.
I think it’s really a story about what if’s and being intensely introspective on actions, words and choices in the past and the way they have impacted the present. A coming-of-age story, how the boy finally becomes the man and eventually the parent. It’s a delightful tale that tugs on the heartstrings.