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Wednesday 9 January 2019

A Grand Old Time by Judy Leigh

This book teeters a bit between being rather far-fetched and saccharine and admiration for a very sassy, determined seventy-five-year-old, Evie. I think the first thirty percent of the story had me on the former side, but at the end, I had quite a fondness for this old girl. The same can also be applied to her son, Brendan, and his wife, Maura. The sentiments for him waver between exasperation and sympathy. For Maura, between intolerance and empathy.

For Evie, the death of her husband discombobulates her a bit…and rather rashly decides a care home will be best for her. But at seventy-five, she realises she's not in the slightest bit ready for god's waiting room. So she gathers her things, along with her passport, and sets off for a European road trip. Horrified, Brendan and Maura set off to find her to take her home. But Evie has not only driven off to Europe, she's driven into enlightenment. Brendan and Maura have to prepare themselves.

Ultimately, my patience was rewarded because Evie's character developed quite satisfyingly. Brendan is someone you just want to slap in the face at first, but the author manages to rescue you from GBH by bringing just enough of your sympathy to the surface. As for Maura…well, yes, she starts out being rather unlikeable and domineering. But Brendan's behaviour and attitude is enough to make a Maura.

I did actually enjoy this by the end. It is all a little bit silly, totally incredible, but it is undeniably rather fun: and you can't help admiring Evie just a smidge. She really does exemplify 'age is just a number'.


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