Friday, 25 August 2017

The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard - Review

Elvira Carr is twenty-seven years old, lives with her controlling Mother, loves animals and knows a very great deal about biscuits. Elvira likes life to be regular and predictable, but things become very unpredictable when Mother is hospitalised with a stroke. Suddenly Elvira's restricted life is opening up in unexpected ways, but it's hard to know how to act and how to cope with all these new situations. Some Rules are clearly needed to guide her...

Inevitable comparisons will be drawn with books like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I was also reminded of  Emily Barr's The One Memory of Flora Banks. All great books which feature protagonists who do not function in, as Elvira would put it, NormalTypical ways. 

Elvira knows only too well that she has some difficulties because of her Condition, but she is resourceful, determined and potentially more capable than she has ever been allowed to be. Life without Mother is different, often frightening, but also far more interesting and ultimately fulfilling. There are mysteries to be solved and challenges to be faced.

Elvira's voice is engaging and completely believable. It's a pleasure to share her unique way of viewing the world. In fact all the characters are easy to visualise (for some reason I envisaged Elvira's fearsome Mother as something like Neville's Gran from Harry Potter, only maybe without the vulture hat). Sylvia next door and her family, the staff at the nursing home and at the animal rescue centre are all vividly drawn. I especially loved Paul and his father, Charlie and of course Akira the dog.

Elvira's story is enthralling, often funny, sometimes sad, and ultimately uplifting. Highly recommended. I loved it.

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