The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle

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The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Quite an ordinary story about a family coping following the death of a parent. It's good enough, but not super special.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: December 2016
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1473608955

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Mr Tom Hope is becoming Mr No Hope. His wife has been killed in an accident, and he's now left, haplessly trying to bring up their two young daughters. While his mother in law is a help in the beginning, she soon adopts a cruel-to-be-kind approach and decides to leave him to it, knowing the only way he'll step up is if he has no choice in the matter.

Albeit written by a bloke, this is a book that initially focusses on the ineptitude of fathers. Tom, it seems, has been absent from his children's lives, spending long days at work when he should have been at home with them, doing the school run, learning their favourite colours, knowing the names of their best friends and favourite restaurants. Linda, his mother in law, didn't live with the family before her daughter died, but she immediately surpasses Tom with her knowledge of all things child-related.

This book is a mild read, but not one I was entirely won over by. In many ways you know what is coming. There will be comedies of errors when the fish out of water father tries to take on the role of primary caregiver. There will be raised eyebrows at the school gates as he catches the eye of the mothers, unused to having testosterone on their patch. There may be teenage temper tantrums, boundary pushing, first loves and heartbreak. Perhaps someone from the past will come back to haunt us, and no doubt we will find out more about Laura, because if we've learned nothing else from the recent passing of George Michael et al, it's that all sorts of people come out of the woodwork to talk about you when you're gone.

The book is easy to read, but simply put not much happens. It's such an ordinary, everyday story, completely believable but not really entertaining. The writing itself, the language used, was the redeeming factor because it is a lovely one to meander through, but I had no trouble putting it down at any point. On the plus side, it's such a light read that even though it's about sad things happening, both in the distant past and more recently, it doesn't pull on the heart strings too much. It's not a bad book, but it was missing a special pull, so for this it gets only an average rating.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review. If you like a straightforward family drama, Lifesaving for Beginners by Ciara Geraghty is worthy of a look.

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Buy The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle at


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