Welcome to another Bedtime Book Review, I actually won today’s gorgeous book as part of a giveaway run a few months ago by the lovely Jo on her fab blog My Chestnut Reading Tree, please go check her out!
If you would like to read my previous Bedtime Book Review, My Best Friends Exorcism you can find it here.
Title: Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon
Publisher: The Borough Press
Date Published: 11th January 2018
Genre: Women’s Fiction
There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.
84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?
From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.
Eight four year old Florence has had a fall. Laying on the floor of her living room she reflects on what has happened over the last month. She lives in Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly with her best friend Elsie who takes care of her and helps her remember things that have slipped her mind. Due to her behaviour she’s been put on a warning, if she doesn’t make an effort to mix with the other residents, she’ll be sent to Greenbank, a nursing home that you never come back from.
A new resident moves in by the name of Gabriel Price but Florence is convinced he’s Ronnie Butler, the person from her and Elsie’s past. But he’s can’t be, Ronnie drowned sixty years before.
Nobody will listen to her so Florence, with the help of Elsie and widower Jack, she sets out to prove that it really Ronnie Bulter. Memories slowly start to come back to her and a deeply buried secret comes to the surface. Can she face her past?
I’m finding it so hard to review this book because I don’t think I can put into words just what an amazing book it is!
Three Things About Elsie combines a bit of mystery with and unusual narrator with the heart breaking subject of dementia to create a really poignant and compelling tale. It really reminded me of a book called Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey, that I read a few years back and if you haven’t read it, I suggest you add it to your reading list after this one of course!
The story is told from three perspectives. Miss Ambrose, Handy Simon and Florence.
Miss Ambrose the supervisor of Cherry Tree, although she’s not quite in charge (that goes to the slightly scary Miss Bissell). She’s slightly frustrated with the fact that Cherry Tree is not the job she would have chosen for herself but it’s just where she ended up. She’s always try to think of new ideas to improve things, which don’t always work out.
Handy Simon is Cherry Tree’s handyman. He’s not the sharpest but he’s got a good heart. He enjoys facts and figures and is just wondering when he fits in the world.
Then there’s Florence. She’s a little loud especially when she thinks nobody’s listening to her, she’s not a fan of socialising and is finding it increasingly hard to remember things and gets confused quite easily. The friendship between her and Elsie was just so sweet and it brings out her kinder side.
I have to be honest at times this book made me quite sad, showing some of the realities faced with old age but it’s also coupled with sharp and witty observations that will make you smile.
Three Things About Elsie is a book that will stay with me long after I read it.
Joanna Cannon graduated from Leicester Medical School and worked as a hospital doctor, before specialising in psychiatry. Her first novel The Trouble With Goats and Sheep was a top ten bestseller in both hardback and paperback and was a Richard and Judy pick. She lives in the Peak District with her family and her dog.