Thursday, 13 March 2014

See You in September by Joanne Teague (Fiction, 8/10E)

September 2013, Candy Jar books, 208 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: dealing with sudden illness, travelling with family, forgetting essential items, being late, having friendly hosts, unforgettable experiences
Summary from Candy Jar Books
When Joanne Teague learnt that she may only have a few months to live she decided to take her three children out of school and, with her husband, spend six months travelling around Europe.

See You in September is the hilarious and uplifting account of this family’s journey through Europe. From the interviews with the children’s eccentric headteacher, to the vagaries of negotiating the Paris Metro with a toddler, the joys of navigating through Italian cities and the challenge of purchasing food for a family on a remote Greek island using only sign language, the book deals with every family’s holiday dreams – and nightmares – with a wonderfully light touch.

Nayuleska's thoughts
I was really interested in how Joanne discovered she was ill, how her family coped with the diagnosis, the effect it had on their travels (which only came about because of her illness). However it was this area that I was disappointed with. There was very little mention of her illness for most of the book, barring a few scary scenes abroad which impacted on their trip. I'd wanted to see more of Joanne's feelings about her disease, her worries about simple daily tasks which she may not have been able to do as easily. I felt that the blurb indicated that there would be a fair amount of the book centred on Joanne's illness, when in actual fact it was more about the travelling.

That being said, it was a hilarious read. I loved reading about the realities of travelling to countries with children, the range in welcomes Joanne received, the little incidents which might make the natives think the family was crazy (whose family isn't?) There was inevitable bickering both from the children and their parents, especially with directions! I liked how every now and then Joanne would communicate with the family and friends still in England, how travelling broadened how they viewed life's blessings, and just how much closer they got to each other, as well as equally becoming more independent in their own ways.

Suggested read
For younger readers who want family drama check out The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

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