Today I am discussing a new book I have recently read. This particular review is a little bonus edition as it’s not a book Vanille and I have read together. I was kindly sent a copy of this book to read and I wanted to share my thoughts.
Homeward Bound by Richard Smith is the book I am discussing. This is a debut novel from Mr Smith, who at the age of 71 proves that you can follow your passions at any time or age!
The book, though fictional takes inspiration from Smith’s own life and career. It centres around George, who after losing his beloved wife is grappling with the realities of getting older, as well as wanting to remain independent and avoiding being put into a home by his family. Not only this, but George has his own secret and regrets in life that he battles with. The book also explores George and the relationship he has with his granddaughter as she decides to move in with him, not only for his benefit, but for hers. We explore the dynamic between the youthful Tara in contrast with her wise and older grandfather. Both share a love of music, and both have a lot of things in their life they are trying to figure out and explore.
As the book progresses, we see not only their relationship and bond strengthen, but see how with each others help they may just find what they are looking for from life. The book also shows other relationships, such as Tara figuring out the dating world as a young adult, as well the relationship between her mother and father. Smith writes in a wonderful way that makes you connect with these characters early on, and beautifully explores the perspectives of each character. This allows us to feel empathy for all of them, which is not often achieved in books easily. Though we want George to keep his life the way he wants it, its very easy to relate to Tara and her mother and why they believe a care home or retirement home would be best.
The book allowed me to further understand how someone older may be feeling at having decisions made for them instead of with them. Similar to Three things about Elsie, it was also a stark reminder to appreciate that just because you reach the age of 80 years old doesn’t mean you no longer have passions, dreams and goals still to achieve. This book had many heartfelt moments, but also allowed some humour too. Seeing the world from George’s eyes made me smile, but also broke my heart at times. We see him taken advantage of at times, express fear and loneliness and even trying to use a computer for the first time, which made for some… interesting results!
What I also appreciate in this book, is that it is very heartwarming and allows us to see care homes in a positive light. Quite often we see nursing homes and care homes as a negative place to send a family member for when they get ‘too difficult’ or we see it almost always as a sad thing when someone goes to a care home, which isn’t always the case. Particularly with everything happening this year and the light that has shone on care homes now more than ever, I think this book shows not only how amazing the staff that work in these homes are, but that we don’t always have to assume it’s sad for the residents to be there.
After struggling at times during lockdown to have a desire to read, this book was exactly what I needed to remind me why the world of books is so wonderful. Smith has created truly loveable characters in George and Tara; they are not perfect by any means, but seeing the contrast in their stories, the crossroads each face at their different ages and the bond made between them; this was a really lovely read. This book made me laugh, allowed me to cry sad and happy tears, and brightened my days when reading it.
Book rating – 9/10
Recommend – Yes
Read again– Absolutely!