After finishing Dream A Little Dream (2015), I noted that reading Giovanna Fletcher’s writing was like having a chat with an old friend. This is still true and, perhaps, has evolved in the tone and narrative in Some Kind of Wonderful (2017). When we begin to read a book, we want to be able to connect to it within a few pages, even a few paragraphs. We entrust our time and our emotions to 400 odd pages, and we want to feel that we’ve learnt something, like when we leave we are leaving with something. Whether it be entertainment, an escape from loneliness or a life-changing lesson, we want to leave with a figurative memento. Being Essex born-and-raised myself, the references and dialogue are so beautifully familiar. As a hopeless romantic as well, once I had turned the last page, it felt as if I had been reminded of midnight conversations with friends, and was once again being given the enlightening truth one needs from time to time. Essex born or a hopeless romantic, or otherwise, the book deals with relevant topics that I think everyone can connect to and appreciate.
As a quick blurb then… Our main protagonist Lizzy is a woman from Essex in her late twenties, who after having made promises and having given most of her adult life to her boyfriend Ian, is shocked when it all falls apart. Heartbroken and confused, and worried that she might be chasing the clock, she sets out to find out who she was before Ian and who she is now.
Currently, at the age of 24, my life is a seesaw of existentialism and expectations, but also of beauty and of realisation. This book feeds into this confusion we all feel at some point and does so with wisdom and vulnerability. Lizzy realises that she’s just been living this life of autonomy, relatively content with her job and her flat, and believing that nothing is better than the loving relationship she is in. What she doesn’t realise is how much has been sacrificed from her own personality, and how many lessons she never knew she needed to learn. Each character is delicately developed and feels true to the Essex community which is really not as bad as everyone likes to think it is! Lizzy is an excellent protagonist, and a narrator we can feel proud to follow and to inhabit as we read.
We build a sympathy for Lizzy, and really, a deep pain as everything she goes through mirrors that of our own situations. When we see her discovering everything she now has, and understanding what she can become and what life is about, we are not being told it for the first time, but we are being reminded of it in a safe place. Nothing changes a person quite like a good old heartbreak, and it is tangible when reading Some Kind of a Wonderful. The job of an author, in my opinion, is to retell old stories and old familiar events and twist them just a little to give the reader a new perspective. Some Kind of a Wonderful invites the reader to watch the twist happen in real time. I found myself stopping to take pictures of special paragraphs that I wanted to look back on, I felt the need to take a breath and listen to what was being said (or written). And when the back cover folded over to reveal the end, I was visited by that bittersweet emotion that rises from the stomach and meets the mind. That addictive bloodrush that reminds you why you read and reminds you of how powerful a simple tale of life told by someone else can impact our own.
Some Kind of a Wonderful is written with love, and pain and above all else, it is written with fun. It encourages us all to enjoy our time reading it, and then make sure we are who we deserve to be and to remember that life is not about following other peoples shadows. It teaches us to love, to care, to support but also to do all of those things for ourselves, first and foremost.
Get yourself a copy on Amazon and all major bookstores and retailers!