In 1981, eleven-year-old Jill drags her young brother Jack through a London cemetery until they reach their mother’s gravestone, where she tells Jack that nobody blames him.
But clearly, they do.
Whatever Jack’s childhood crime, it seems to have left him with a strange curse: people around him only feel good about themselves when his life is out of control. Although Marion, his stunning girlfriend, is immune to this hex, even she can’t halt Jack’s decline into fluffy-bearded, drink-sodden dumpiness.
When Marion finally leaves him, Jack resolves to change to win her back, but every attempt he makes to improve himself is met with strong resistance by those around him, especially by his therapist.
Jack’s quest to regain Marion intensifies from the simple target of reducing his beer-gut to remembering what happened on a dark, stormy afternoon in 1978.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Jack has to be one of my favourite characters in the 243 books that I have read this year. It begins when he is only seven running through a graveyard and finally being steered to his mother’s grave by his big sister, Jill, after a while she tells him, “The important thing, Jack … is that nobody blames you.” But Jack knew that they did. Such a burden for a little boy through life. My heart bled for him, but what the heck had he done?
Jack grows up to be quite an outcast, he is a lovely bloke, kind, generous and faithful but people just don’t take to him, except for other oddballs that no-one else takes to, so they are quite an oddball group of friends that hang out together. He is the bloke that everyone seems to need to know just to make themselves feel better, so they can take pleasure in that they aren’t like him. They don’t want him to succeed, he is their benchmark in life and they intend to keep him there.
Thing is Jack is super intelligent, the fact of why he knew such trivia something that melted every emotion in my body later in the story, he has a beautiful partner and a couple of houses. Oh and still a big sister that constantly keeps him in his place. When major events happen, easy-going Jack that has taken everything on the chin all his life has to face his past.
This is an absolute gem to read with characters and events that happened that made me laugh till I cried and have to read it again. It is deep and sad in places with a character that you just have to love and get behind because until Jack can work out the past he is still a little boy full of guilt in the grown-up body with rituals that he daren’t stop because they keep him safe. Unlikely friendships, a family that is your worst enemy and hostage situations that are hilarious. This book is a comedy of errors around Jack as people try and see the worst in what he does. The story builds to a tremendous climax with ‘everyone gets what they deserve ending.’ Just brilliant and I am still laughing.
Huge thanks to the publisher, Fantastic Books Publication for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE, IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Gameson and her mother Margot Gameson (née Evelyn) co-wrote ‘The Turtle Run’ under the pseudonym ‘Marie Evelyn’.
Marie: “The Turtle Run was inspired by something my mother once witnessed in Barbados. She came across barefooted, blue-eyed, fair-haired children struggling to carry buckets of water from a standpipe to their chattel house, and learned that they were the descendants of the Monmouth rebels, who were exiled from England to Barbados in 1685. This experience encouraged us to learn more about the Monmouth rebellion, led by Charles II’s illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth. Although the book is contemporary and has a strong romantic element, the theme is about how people’s lives are influenced by the fate of their ancestors. Certainly, the miserable situation of many ‘Redlegs’ (to give them their politically incorrect name) was the legacy of their exiled forebears.
In 2017, Marie’s first solo novel was published: ‘The Giddy Career of Mr Gadd (deceased)’. This is a tale about grieving for people who are not dead, but who have substantially changed from the person they were before. With the main characters haunted by dead fathers, it is a quirky mix of identity crises, involving Zen, Catholicism, Chinese ancestor worship, and dodgy 70s music.