A Gorgeous, Heartbreaking Debut: Read our Review of A Million Things by Emily Spurr

A Gorgeous, Heartbreaking Debut: Read our Review of A Million Things by Emily Spurr

A bursting, heartfelt, debut following fifty-five days in the life of ten-year-old Rae, who must look after herself and her dog when her mother disappears.

For as long as Rae can remember, it’s been her and Mum, and their dog, Splinter; a small, deliberately unremarkable, family. They have their walks, their cooking routines, their home. Sometimes Mum disappears for a while to clear her head, but Rae is okay with this, because Mum always comes back.

So, when Rae wakes to Splinter’s nose in her face, the back door open, and no Mum, she does as she’s always done and carries on. She takes care of the house, goes to school, walks Splinter, and minds her own business – all the while pushing down the truth, she isn’t ready to face.

That is, until her grumpy, lonely neighbour Lettie – with her own secrets and sadness – falls one night and needs Rae’s help. As the two begin to rely on each other, Rae’s anxiety intensifies as she wonders what will happen to her when her mother’s absence is finally noticed and her fragile world bursts open.

A Million Things is Emily Spurr’s debut novel and an astonishing one at that. It takes a skilled writer to authentically depict the perspective of a child, especially in first person. Yet Spurr does just this in A Million Things, creating a voice for Rae that is authentic and seamless, giving the novel an incredibly immersive feel.

What stuck out for me the most when reading the novel was the tender and heartbreaking friendship that forms between Rae and her neighbour Lettie. Lettie and Rae’s friendship blooms from tragedy as they both learn to trust each other, and while emotional, there are a few laugh out loud moments that will catch you off guard. Don’t be surprised if you shed a few tears when reading this, I know I certainly did.

Tender, funny and heartbreaking, A Million Things is a story of grief and resilience, told with eloquent simplicity. In brave, spiky Rae, Emily Spurr has created a character you will never forget. Do yourself a favour and add A Million Things to your TBR pile, you can thank us later.

Reviews

A Coming-of-Age Story Like No Other: Read an Extract of A Million Things by Emily Spurr

Review | Extract

6 April 2021

A Coming-of-Age Story Like No Other: Read an Extract of A Million Things by Emily Spurr

    Publisher details

    A Million Things
    Author
    Emily Spurr
    Publisher
    Text Publishing
    Genre
    Fiction
    Released
    30 March, 2021

    Synopsis

    Rae is ten years old, and she’s tough. She’s had to be: life with her mother has taught her the world is not her friend. Now suddenly her mum is gone and Rae is alone, except for her dog Splinter. Rae can do a lot of things pretty well for a kid. She can take care of herself and Splints, stay under the radar at school and keep the front yard neat enough that the neighbours won’t get curious. But she is gnawed at by fear and sadness; haunted by the shadow of a terrible secret. Lettie, who lives next door, might know more about Rae than she lets on. But she has her own reasons for keeping the world at arm’s length. When Rae finds out what they are, it seems like she and Lettie could help each other. But how long can a friendship last when it’s based on secrets? Tender, funny, heartbreaking—A Million Things is a story of grief and resilience, told with eloquent simplicity. In brave, spiky Rae, Emily Spurr has created a character you will never forget.
    Emily Spurr
    About the author

    Emily Spurr

    Born in Tasmania, Emily lives in Melbourne with her partner, their twin sons and a deaf, geriatric cat. Shortlisted for the prestigious Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Prize, A Million Things is her first novel. 

    Books by Emily Spurr

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