The Road to Ever After by Moira Young
|The Road to Ever After by Moira Young|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: Touching without being in the least sloppy, and full of zany escapades and laugh-out-loud moments, this is an excellent book to curl up with on a cold winter's afternoon. Just remember to give it back to the kids when you've finished with it . . .|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: October 2017|
|Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
A grumpy old lady who can no longer drive requires a chauffeur, and we watch as she gradually softens towards him and they become friends. So far, so Driving Miss Daisy, an apt comparison in a book which references several well-loved classic films. But the obvious similarity ends there. Davy, hired to take Miss Flint on her final road trip, is thirteen years old and has not the foggiest idea how to drive a car.
The set-up is intriguing, all the more so for being framed by a traditional background. Davy lives alone in a den he's built in the local cemetery and does odd jobs to survive. Brownvale, his home, if you can use such a warm word about a drear and rigid place, is ruled by a hard-hearted parson who has banned dancing and alcohol; vagrants, the homeless and anyone who doesn't toe the line finds himself scooped up by Mr Kite the gang-master and sold on. The plucky orphan, the cold-hearted villain, the stray dog . . . been there, read that. But don't be put off: this book is wondrously unique! Miss Flint, the fierce old woman many townsfolk suspect of being a witch, is approaching her eightieth birthday and has decided she will return to the house where she was born and end her life by means of a bottle of pills. Davy is convinced she's nuts and refuses to have anything to do with her. But his habit of drawing beautiful angels in the dirt gets him on the wrong side of Parson Fall, and his only chance of escape is to take up the old lady on her offer. So, grinding gears and sweating in his over-large uniform, Davy and the dog who's adopted him set off with Miss Flint in her ancient crank-start saloon.
Miss Flint clearly feels she can do whatever she likes on the journey – after all, she'll be dead in a couple of days, so who cares? Accidents and minor catastrophes abound, as they may well might on such a dotty enterprise, and she cheerfully commits various crimes including grand theft auto. Despite the perils and frustrations Davy and his dog (called George Bailey after the hero of It's a Wonderful Life) come to like the old lady, and when life on the road becomes even more extraordinary and magical he is determined to ensure she gets safely to her final destination. It's a wonderful story, full of laughter and gasps and the occasional tear - calling a book a future classic can be a cliché, but this one definitely deserves the accolade. Do not, under any circumstances, miss it.
Teen readers who follow Bookbag will know how much we enjoyed Moira Young's books about the Dustlands: Blood Red Road and Rebel Heart. But this story about Davy and Miss Flint is gentler, warmer and more whimsical, and perfect for a readership which stretches from nine to ninety. It's quite a tall order to find similar books, but readers will surely love The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson, which is playful and charming. Another road trip story, with a more oriental feel and which gives us another pair of seriously mis-matched companions is told in The Hidden Kingdom by Ian Beck, and if you enjoy fierce old ladies whose bullying ways conceal hearts of pure gold you'll love Mountwood School for Ghosts by Toby Ibbotson, son of the Great Eva.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Road to Ever After by Moira Young at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Road to Ever After by Moira Young at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.