Please ignore my grubby looking iPad; I SWEAR I cleaned it before I took pictures! Anywho, here are my thoughts on A Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill.
A Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill
Publication Date: 05 May 2016
Publisher: Piccadilly Press
A poignant story about dealing with grief through the magic of reading and friendship.
Calypso’s mum died a few years ago and her emotionally incompetent Dad can’t, or won’t, talk about Mum at all. Instead he throws himself into writing his book A History of the Lemon. Meanwhile the house is dusty, there’s never any food in the fridge, and Calypso retreats into her own world of books and fiction.
When a new girl, Mae, arrives at school, the girls’ shared love of reading and writing stories draws them together. Mae’s friendship and her lively and chaotic home – where people argue and hug each other – make Calypso feel more normal than she has for a long time. But when Calypso finally plucks up the courage to invite Mae over to her own house, the girls discover the truth about her dad and his magnum opus – and Calypso’s happiness starts to unravel.
I’ve got to start organising my To Be Read pile a bit better, as I didn’t realise A Library of Lemons was a children’s book until I got a few pages in. Oops…
A Library of Lemons is about Calypso, a young girl whose father is struggling to cope after the death of his wife, Calypso’s mother. Over the years he has encouraged Calypso to have “inner strength”, as well as encouraging her to push away potential friendships and being self reliant. When Calypyso makes friends with the new girl at school, Mae, it sets off a chain of events that will change Calpyso’s life.
As I’m not the target audience (I think I am literally 10 years older than what is intended!), it wouldn’t be fair for me to criticise this book in depth. I can say that A Library of Lemons is an easy to read, enjoyable story that I am sure will help some young people out there who are struggling in similar situations. At heart, A Library of Lemons is a positive tale about loss, hope, and the power of friendship. There is nothing that would be too upsetting for a young reader as the serious issues have been toned down considerably to avoid this. I gave A Library of Lemons 3/5 stars on GoodReads as it is a very sweet, heartwarming story, and I am sure that my 10 year old self would have LOVED this book.
I’ll end this post with this particular quote from the novel that I thought was rather lovely.
“Maybe there’s a limit”, I say, thinking out loud. “Maybe, if you lock away the sadness for too long, it all builds up. Like filling a tank. And one day the tank busts and you have way more sadness than normal because it’s all been stored away”. Mae nods. “And it would’t matter how much inner strength you have”. “Maybe it’s important to let yourself be sad sometimes” I say. “To stop the tank filling up”.