Today dear readers I am on the blog tour for Anna (Published 25th June 2020) By Laura Guthrie. A big thank you to the publishers Cranachan for my copy to review, always appreciated. Also thank you to the lovely Kelly for the invite, always a pleasure to work with.
Every cloud has a silver lining… doesn’t it?
Anna is thirteen years old, lives in London with her father, and has Asperger’s syndrome. When her father dies, she moves to Scotland to live with her estranged, reclusive mother. With little support to help her fit in, she must use every coping strategy her father taught her—especially her ‘Happy Game’—as she tries to connect with her mother, discover her past, and deal with the challenges of being thrown into a brand new life along the way.
About The Author
Laura Guthrie grew up in the rural Scottish Highlands (“I come from where the planes don’t fly”). Her creative influences include Nessie and the elusive ‘Caiplich Beast’, as well as some choice authors and their works.
She has an honours degree in biological sciences from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Glasgow.
The narrative follows thirteen year old Anna Whitear. She has recently moved from London to Scotland to live with her estranged mother after the sudden death of her father. Anna has Asperger’s syndrome and struggles to understand social situations. Now faced with a new way of life she tries to connect with her mother and understand more about her past. We watch her adjust to her surroundings, meeting a mixture of characters along the way.
Anna is an intriguing character to read. To view the world through her eyes is a surreal experience that makes you appreciate all the little things in life. She takes in all the tiny details of her surroundings that we all often overlook. She likes how her mother’s neighbourhood is a lot quieter than London and the wallpaper has imprints. Guthrie’s writing heightens your senses and brings the scenes to life, fresh off the page dancing into your mind. I loved every second and couldn’t get enough.
It was interesting and also enjoyable to read a first person narrative where the character has Asperger’s syndrome. I learned a lot that I was priorly oblivious to. Anna would often clench and unclench her hands in stressful situations. Loud sudden noises made her put her fingers in her ears and so she anticipates anytime this could possibly happen such as toast popping out the toaster. People don’t always understand her and that can be frustrating as she doesn’t get why people can’t see what she sees. She notices that the park is littered with rubbish and makes it her mission to clean it up. The blind man at the library forgot his dog and she makes sure that they are reunited. She notices that the next door neighbour always has the curtains drawn and wonders how she can make them happy. Anna has nothing but good intentions and is drawn to help people. It is infectious to read as the good deeds she carries out are second nature to her. Guthrie has written a truly likeable and much loved character that makes us all wish we had a friend like Anna in our lives.
A variety of characters encounter Anna almost daily. The person she met on the bus and played noughts and crosses with turns out to be Ben, a doctor at the local Gp. The Skeleton Man that lives in the big manor house that threatened to skin her alive has a sad backstory. Mrs. No the next door neighbour who shuts herself away from the world starts to enjoy life again after Anna visits her with a homemade broth. At the solicitors the receptionist is also called Anna and they both fill up the tea and coffee machine naming it Garry. These are just to name a few. I loved watching Anna interact with people and was always curious how she would bewitch the next person she meets. There is something magical about her as everyone she meets remarks on her witchy ways, putting people under a spell. Guthrie’s characters have tragic, unfortunate backgrounds that force them to put on the façade of being a grump, annoyed at the world and its problems. Many of us would not waste our time in finding out why these people are the way they are but Anna is different. She only sees ways to make them smile, be happy and enjoy life again. It’s mesmerising to watch her enchant the community and its residents, bringing everyone together and showing nothing but love. It’s remarkable writing. Guthrie has strongly bonded these characters together, all because a curious thirteen year old walked into their lives.
The relationship between Anna and her mother Patty, is tense. There is little communication as Patty is often working and even when at home she distances herself. It’s a long, slow process as these two characters tiptoe around the details of the past which only adds to the awkward atmosphere. However there are points where Patty attempts to form a bond with Anna and even takes her shopping for a new coat. The whole experience is a strange one with Patty not understanding why Anna prefers the men’s section and wants a flowerpot hat. Patty herself is a complex character fighting her own demons, she shuts herself off from people whereas Anna just wants to help. Much like the stray cat that Anna feeds bits of food to, Patty is scared and feels cornered which causes instincts to take over and attack when the hand of affection is offered. We watch with anticipation as the relationship slowly mends throughout the narrative while remaining protective of Anna. It’s difficult to not form an attachment to her. You want her to reconnect and have that mother-daughter relationship with Patty but at the same time you remain wary and on edge. Guthrie pulls you in, makes you feel deeply for the characters and you are compelled to watch the story unfold.
I give Anna By Laura Guthrie a Five out of Five paw rating.
An extraordinary coming of age story about a strong, enchanting woman who captivates all that she meets while dealing with her own personal struggles. Anna combines the good and the bad together, like the sun and the rain creating a spectacular ray of colours that fill and dazzle the sky.
Heartwarming and uplifting, Anna will find her way into your heart. She brings a ray of sunshine to everyone she meets, reminding us all to be kind to each other, enjoy and love life.
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!
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