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Brooke Davis

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FICTION/Davis, Brooke
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Subjects
Published
New York, New York : Dutton [2015]
Language
English
Physical Description
310 pages ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (page 307).
ISBN
9780147517739
9780525954682
0525954686
Main Author
Brooke Davis (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Soon after seven-year-old Millie Bird's dad dies of cancer, her mother abandons her in a department store. Karl the Touch Typist, so called because he loves the act of typing and types on every surface he can find, has escaped from a nursing home and taken refuge in the same store where Millie has been left. Agatha Pantha, who lives across the street from Millie, has not left her house since her husband's death seven years before. Millie's plight brings out a protective impulse in the two octogenarians, and the three of them, along with a department store mannequin named Manny, embark on a journey across the Australian Bush to find Millie's mother, Millie posting signs that read "IN HERE MUM" along the way. A big hit in Australia, this novel was written as a PhD thesis on grief. Though the whimsy grows tiresome, Davis shows particular skill in getting inside the mind of a seven-year-old. Her dotty characters and themes of displacement and marginalization call to mind the works of fellow Aussie Elizabeth Jolley, minus Jolley's sharp edge. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Seven-year-old redhead Millie is abandoned at a local store by her grieving mother; widowed Agatha hasn't left her home or spoken to a soul in seven years; and widower Karl has escaped from a nursing home. The only novel you'll ever read that served as a PhD dissertation on grief; a debut sold to 23 countries. [Page 60]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Seven-year-old Millie lost her father to cancer and is abandoned by her grieving mother in a department store. By chance Millie meets two other damaged and suffering souls: 87-year-old Karl the Touch Typist and 82-year-old Agatha Pantha, both of whom are coping very badly with the deaths of their long-term spouses. The story is told from their different viewpoints, as they feel compelled to leave their small town in western Australia and take a quirky trip across the desert. Unconventional characters and slapstick action are combined with heartbreaking moments in this fresh take on the shared humanity of loss and the possibility of redemption, making this title a moving and unforgettable read. VERDICT Australian author Davis's debut animates characters with distinctive and fallible voices; Millie is wise beyond her years, while Agatha is limited by her obsession with aging. For all readers who have ever faced grief and felt that everyone else knows what they are doing and how to handle it. Mourning, grief, and the mystery of death will boost this book's appeal, particularly to teens, and will generate lots of discussion points for book clubs. [See Prepub Alert, 7/21/14.]—Jan Marry, Williamsburg Regional Lib., VA [Page 90]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This novel by Australian travel writer and first-time novelist Davis attempts to use whimsy as a delivery mechanism for a meditation on loss and loneliness among the very young and very old. Seven-year-old Millie Bird is obsessed with death, inscribing her encounters with dead things in a "Book of Dead Things." Entry twenty-eight is "MY DAD." As a result of losing her husband and Millie's father, it's not long before Millie's unstable mother drops her at a Perth department store by the "Ginormous Women's Underwear" section and never returns. Millie spends a couple of nights hiding out in the store, seemingly undetected by anyone except a mannequin she treats as a companion and an old man she approaches in the store's café who identifies himself as "Karl the Touch Typist." Karl is battling his own grief after the loss of his wife. Finally caught by store security, Millie, with Karl's help, escapes authorities and makes her way home, where an elderly neighbor, Agatha Pantha, an unpleasant shut-in following her husband's death, somehow decides it would be better to accompany Millie to find her mother in Melbourne than to call the police. Karl catches up with them and the unlikely trio travels across Australia. Ultimately, this journey toward understanding and accepting death is too predictable, offering little aside from the quirks of its characters. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by PW Annex Reviews

This novel by Australian travel writer and first-time novelist Davis attempts to use whimsy as a delivery mechanism for a meditation on loss and loneliness among the very young and very old. Seven-year-old Millie Bird is obsessed with death, inscribing her encounters with dead things in a "Book of Dead Things." Entry twenty-eight is "MY DAD." As a result of losing her husband and Millie's father, it's not long before Millie's unstable mother drops her at a Perth department store by the "Ginormous Women's Underwear" section and never returns. Millie spends a couple of nights hiding out in the store, seemingly undetected by anyone except a mannequin she treats as a companion and an old man she approaches in the store's café who identifies himself as "Karl the Touch Typist." Karl is battling his own grief after the loss of his wife. Finally caught by store security, Millie, with Karl's help, escapes authorities and makes her way home, where an elderly neighbor, Agatha Pantha, an unpleasant shut-in following her husband's death, somehow decides it would be better to accompany Millie to find her mother in Melbourne than to call the police. Karl catches up with them and the unlikely trio travels across Australia. Ultimately, this journey toward understanding and accepting death is too predictable, offering little aside from the quirks of its characters. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The #1 international bestselling debut novel about the wisdom of the very young, the mischief of the very old, and the magic that happens along the way Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her curly hair. Her struggling mother, grieving the death of Millie's father, leaves her in the big ladies' underwear department of a local store and never returns. United at this fateful moment with two octogenarians seekers, she embarks with them upon a road trip to find Millie's mother. Together they will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself feel sad once in a while just might be the key to a happy life.