12 June 2007
A while ago those lovely people at Hodder passed on a proof of a book called The Illumination of Merton Browne by a fellow called Mr. Shaw that they are publishing in hardback in August. The jacket didn’t have either a photo of slender calves, nor illustrations of butterflies, flip-flops or cakes. To say I was skeptical is an understatement. As anyone who knows me will know, I have very little tolerance for reading outside of my comfort zone. With very very few exceptions. However, it was free, it was a long journey home, I’d had one of those horrible days at work, and the tramp on the bus who sat next to me kept angling for a conversation so I thought, bugger it. I turned the last page at about 4am, some six hours later. Well worth a missed nights sleep I can tell you. Now, I didn’t understand a lot of his thoughts – cause he’s far far cleverer than what I is – but I loved the book. I loved even the bits that were horrible and scary, and made me fearful of going out at night, or visiting my friends that still live in Broadwater Farm in Tottenham…. I loved watching his illumination through education, and his growing relationships with Frank, Gibbon and Miranda – and was so gunning for him at the end that I had a few tears in my eyes to tell the truth. The language is very colourful (as my mum would say); at times I felt like I should wash my mouth out with soap and water, let alone Merton’s, but everything about the story and the characters was so beautiful it kept me reading till the bitter end.