Book Review – “This Green And Pleasant Land”

This picture kind of sums me up as well as starring the book I’m writing about; pyjamas, book, G&T. Sorted.

Anyway; onward!

I was so grateful to receive this copy from Readers First as it was a book that immediately became singled out for its unique strength and purpose. Right from just seeing this book, you know it’s going to be a tale that pulls at your heart strings.

Written with humour and wry honesty, this book looks at the typical – “ideal” – English, middle class villages; and what happens if you mess with the routine of them.

I’m white and an atheist, so I can’t put myself in the exact position of the main character, or his surrounding family. But I am disabled, and I know what it feels like to all of a sudden be seen as standing out from where you previously had a place. The phrase Bill uses when he says, “This is my community”, hit me right in the gut, and I wanted to step in through the pages, and tell people to get a grip. And I think that power is one of the strengths of this book; it brings up so many emotions. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you rage with fury and celebrate alongside the characters. You watch education happen. You see the lives of people entwine and separate but somehow you know that this book is so solid and stable, that wherever it leads, it will be okay.

There are so many storylines running along side by side within these pages, so many that you wonder whether they can all possibly be resolved in the time that is available to them. Watching them flow and merge is beautiful, and done in a way that is pure artistry. There is magic in these pages, conducted like an orchestra, ready to show their abilities separately and together.

Books like this really are something we ar lucky to be gifted with. The themes of empowerment, acceptance, strength, determination, and mostly just living life the best way we can, whatever that means as an individual, creates a wonderful novel.

I’ve been lucky this year to read some really wonderful books, but few have touched my heart like this has. I can’t recommend it highly enough. No matter who you are, where you stand in society, or what your life plans are, there is space in all of that for this book. There is no one out there who cannot gain something by reading this.

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