The A to Z of You and Me is narrated by Ivo, a forty year old man coming to the end of his life in a hospice.
His kind carer Sheila encourages him to keep the mind active by naming a part of his body with each letter of the alphabet. With each letter unravels his tragic story from the death of his parents, to his bad influences from friends, experiences with drink and drugs and the heart-breaking tale of this love of his life.
The A to Z game is a good plot device and fells like an imitate way to get to know Ivo and relate to him. Although set in a hospice surrounded with the idea of death, there is a positive outlook on his experience there and the kind staff especially his wonderful carer Sheila. There is also a lovely friendship with a wise teenager called Amber who's mum is dying in the next room.
There is plenty of frustration as Ivo recounts his mistakes and his sister and friends slowly ruin his life, by encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle when his has been diagnosed with diabetes. While laying in his bed, Ivo not only struggles with the health of his body, but with who the blames lies with for the tragic circumstances which occurred years previously.
This could easily have been a depressing book, but it is strangely uplifting as well as heart wrenching and explores how people should take responsibility for their actions and do what is best for themselves as well as loved ones.
A blanket made with love features heavily in this book. I was given a proof copy along with wool and needles and a challenge to knit a square to return to the publishers and I have a feeling that lots of blankets will be made as a result of reading this book!
The A to Z of You and Me is published in March 2015 by Transworld . Thanks for the advance proof!