Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn.
About the Author
Jessica Ryn is a former midwife and homeless resettlement worker. She has recently completed her MA in Creative Writing at Canterbury Christ Church University, and her stories have been shortlisted fr the Kimberley Chambers’ Kickstarter Award, Wordsmag and the Val Wood Prize for Creative Writing. When she’s not scribbling away, Jessica can be found meandering through the woods, reading stories that pull on the feel-strings and eating yoghurt-covered skittles. Jessica lives in Dover with her husband, two children and their high-spirited springer spaniel. The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside is her debut novel.
About the book
She’s always looking on the bright side…Dawn Elisabeth Brightside has been running from her past for twenty-two years and two months, precisely.
So when she is offered a bed in St Jude’s Hostel for the Homeless, it means so much more than just a roof over her head. But with St Jude’s threatened with closure, Dawn worries that everything is about to crumble around her all over again. Perhaps, with a little help from her new friends, she can find a way to save this light in the darkness? And maybe, just maybe, Dawn will finally have a place to call home….
The story of Dawn Brightside may appear at times to be just a life with some obstacles, but the reality is she is troubled, scared and needs support. Half of her life is spent in denial and fantasy scenarios, and the other is spent running away from what she fears the most. When she finally manages to find a place to stay she is torn between guilt, paranoia and the strong will to stay safe for herself and her daughter.
Ryn shows the precarious balance that caretakers or staff have to take into account when working alongside people who have slipped into homelessness, which is often part of a larger cycle of addiction, mental health issues and vulnerability. The line between professionalism, friendship and love can’t be crossed when working in certain careers.
The strength of the story however is in the way the author brings homelessness to the reader in a way that makes it easier to comprehend and digest. Its an uncomfortable truth that the majority of us walk by, ignore or simply feel powerless to help in any way. What is also a truth, albeit one more tied to vanity and money, is that help for homeless people is underfunded and not a big enough priority.
Cuts to funding are eliminating desperately needed avenues of help. Shelter, food, healthcare and someone to help people regain a certain status and skills in life again. Regain a level of security and safety we tend to take for granted. The roofs over our heads, the warmth and food, and to be able to live without feeling as if one is in constant fear of harm, insult and death.
It’s a very introspective and reflective read, and it is also one with a slither of hope in it, which is what is most important for the characters and for people in similar situations. When the world seems to be against you there is always someone out there willing to help you.
Buy The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ pub date 26 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive. Buy at Bookshop.org.