When Feather comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother – one of Britain’s most obese women – in a diabetic coma, she knows something has to be done to save her mum’s life. But when she refuses to co-operate, Feather realises that the problem runs deeper than just her mum’s unhealthy appetite.
Over time, Feather’s mission to help becomes an investigation. With the help of friends old and new, and the hindrance of runaway pet goat Houdini, Feather’s starting to uncover when her mum’s life began to spiral out of control and why. But can Feather fix it in time for her mum to watch her swim to victory? And can she save her family for good?
I received this copy from the publishers for an open and honest review.
People are still really interested in Mum and her weight and the fact that she hasn’t come out of her house in years….
As far as I’m concerned, there are a million worse things a mum can be. That is, it never mattered until last night, New Year’s Eve, when everything went wrong. Really, horribly wrong.
It’s not often I truly empathise with characters in YA novels, but Virginia Macgregor’s outstanding character development had me doing just that. Our protagonist, Feather Tucker, should be living an ordinary teenage life, but instead has to deal with the daily consequences of her mother’s overeating. Feather’s mum hasn’t left the house in thirteen years. Morbidly obese, she is struggling to see what Feather sees: a woman on the brink of death. Feather sets out to effect change but must first discover the trigger for her mother’s overeating. The discovery of this secret kept me intrigued throughout and added to the overall ‘mystery’ feel of this contemporay YA novel.
Whilst searching for answers, Feather finds a box of photographs hidden away, photographs that show her mother fit and healthy and enjoying life. So what lead to the drastic change? Why is her mother so angry? Why does she push away everyone who tries to help? And what does Feather’s friend Clay have to do with it all? Virginia Macgregor’s subtle hints, that are drip-fed throughout, tie together to make a wonderfully satisfying ending.
Although written in a light, page-turning style, this book addresses some difficult social issues: obesity, anorexia, grief and mental health. This book is a great resource for exploring the after-effects of traumatic events and the lengths people will go to when dealing with grief. A YA plot that centres around eating disorders is risky but important for influencing change. For me, this central theme would have been enough in itself without Virgina Macgregor having to throw in a half-formed, brief reference to homosexuality that played absolutely no part in the rest of the story.
This is addictive story-telling and well worth a read.
Dangling unconscious in that net, Mum looks more like a wounded animal, a beached whale or a bear that’s been shot down, than a person. And you know what the worst bit is? As the crane lowers Mum onto the front lawn and as the firemen open the net, it’s like I’m seeing her for the first time – in 3D, HD, Technicolor.