Hello, people of the internet!
Have you bought a book just solely on the cover? Well, I have. Because look at it! Isn’t it just beautiful? It instantly jumped out at me when I was doing my compulsory book shop stroll whenever I go shopping (does anyone else do that?). I did read the blurb, but once I saw that cover, I didn’t think twice about getting the book for myself.
But was the story just as memorising as the cover?
Title: Our Endless Numbered Days
Author: Claire Fuller
Publication date: 31st December 2015
Publisher: Penguin Books
Peggy is eight years old when her father takes her to live in a cabin in a remote European forest. There, he tells her that her mother and the rest of the world are gone.
Now the two of them must scratch a living from the earth: trapping squirrels, foraging for berries, surviving winter as best they can.
But it is easy to lose your way in the forest, to lose yourself. How long will Peggy believer her father’s story? How long can you stay sane when the world is lost? And what happens when you stop believing in everything?
Now, before I start, I’ll have to say I learnt something important about blurbs: don’t always believe that the idea you get from blurbs alone is the idea the book will go. You see, from the blurb, I expected that I will follow Peggy’s story as she’s taken to the forest and the setting will always be in the forest. That is not the case here. The first chapter takes place after Peggy returns home from the forest and tries to fit in with the world. Then it jumps back and forth from Peggy with her father in the forest to Peggy back with civilisation. So I was a little disappointed to find that some of the questions I had before reading – such as ‘Has the world really gone? Will she and her father survive?’ – were already answered. However, I will admit that this was entirely my fault and not the book’s. I wanted to mention it because it did alter my reading experience. I was still in suspense and wondered what happened to Peggy during her time in the forest, but not in the way I previously expected. In fact, the suspense and the twist ending wasn’t about whether or not the world really has gone; it’s about what happened to Peggy during her time in the forest.
And that is the book’s main strength.
I did go into this book expecting one thing, but was delivered something else – in a good way, of course! The plot itself is quite slow and is definitely more character driven – in that the story focuses on the inner conflicts of Peggy – with a few plot-driven elements – such as the harsh winter weather and the plot twist. It certainly didn’t disappoint me. I am glad I read it!
In fact, speaking of twists, I had a feeling one was coming because of the subtle clues Claire Fuller gave. They were needed not only for the twist to fit in with the story’s atmosphere, but for the twist itself. I won’t spoil it, but it is very disturbing. So, if you are going to read it, pay attention to the clues. I say this because I know the nature of the twist can be triggering. The twist doesn’t come out of nowhere, so Claire Fuller did brilliantly with the writing of it.
I tore through this book. It isn’t like anything I read before and reading Peggy’s brainwashed, unreliable narration is intriguing and is what keeps the story going through the many slow moments. Not only that, it is a very dark story. There were quite a few times where I felt uncomfortable and tense, worried about Peggy’s wellbeing. As for her father? He really made me on edge. He did care for Peggy, but I was practically screaming at Peggy to run away from him. All the other characters are interesting and developed. I understood Oskar’s feelings towards Peggy, his sister, and his father who he never met. I found Peggy’s mother, Ute, an intriguing character, who seemed to be both doting yet distant towards her children at the same time.
I did enjoy this book! I will give it 4 stars out of 5. If this review made you want to look into it more, then I would recommend this book!
Thank you for reading!