Wow. What a wonderful book. It kept me reading and reading and reading. I had to wipe away tears more than once, and I kept shaking my head at the power the story had over me.
But no, How Not to Disappear is not a Young Adult book, and I don’t understand why it is classified as one. If I had read it as a young adult, I would have been traumatised. There’s violence, abuse, isolation, drunkenness …
Hattie, who thinks she is in love with Reuben, needs to make an important decision. The one thing she takes a while to realise is that it is a decision. She must make a conscious choice, and it is not wise to base her decision on Reuben’s reaction.
The most important bit of advice she receives is from an old lady called Gloria, who has the beginnings of dementia. Do not be afraid of regret.
Gloria and Hattie, two isolated and vulnerable individuals, embark on a journey together. It is a physical journey as well as an emotional one. It is a journey into Gloria’s past, which is linked to Hattie’s present and future.
The dark is coming and Gloria is afraid. Yet, she knows that being brave does not mean the absence of fear. Bravery lies in the decision to do what you must do even when you are afraid.
Characters, storytelling and intricacy of plot – I loved all these. Life is not about happy endings, but I cannot say I like sad endings. Yet, as Gloria puts it, there is a watery sad that is not-sad, and that’s exactly the mood that filled me up as I read the last few pages of How Not to Disappear.
|Title||How Not to Disappear|
|Rating (out of 5)||5|