Book Review of Calling Major Tom
Every so often a book crosses my path that makes me stop and turn those pages a little slower than normal. Last year the stand out book for me was “All the Birds in the Sky” by Charlie Jane Anders. Even though we’re only into February this book may just have made this year’s book of the year in my eyes. The way the story unfolds and told is so uplifting. It gives us all hope that somehow dark our lives may be that there is redemption for us even in our darkest moments.
I have to admit that I nearly didn’t buy the book from Amazon. The ‘Feel Good Novel of 2017’ tag was a little off putting. So many times do you come away from reading a book with that tag disappointed. Luckily this wasn’t the case with this tightly woven humorous story. It leaves you smiling, trust me in the days of Brexit and Trump, of fear and racism at every corner it’s nice to find a release from the morbidity of the world.
Our unlikely hero, Thomas Major (yep recalls all those Major Tom references which abound) has had a sad time in life. At every stage of his existence, he appears to have had hurdles and obstacles higher than houses, put in front of him. He reacts not with vigour but with grumpiness. Living in the world has made him bitter and twisted. By some strange feat he finds himself on the way to Mars. A lonely figure despised by his ground crew, who you feel would like him to disappear totally. A communications glitch means his sole means of communications is through a phone. One day he rings a number of his ex-wife. However it isn’t her that answers but a seventy-one-year-old from Wigan whose mind is starting to go. Enter Gladys, essentially the hero of the whole story. Gladys and her grandchildren Ellie and James help Major Tom and he helps them.
The story that unfolds is told with great wit and humour that you can’t help laughing at even the dark parts of the book. The way the author has written makes you smile at ever turn. His views on life are a little David Brent at times, but it all adds to the joy that this book brings. Told with flashbacks the story deals with both the problems of Alzheimer’s and child carers in a sensitive and uplifting manner.
Overall an amazing uplifting book. that deserves the tag that Amazon gave it. I’m sure someone will pick it up for a film, it would do well.
Footnote: Realised later that I had read the first Gideon Smith book at school a few years ago. Another quirky book that was a worthwhile read.