It is my pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour today for Freecycling for Beginners by Misha M Herwin. Thank you Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation onto the tour and for an advance copy of the book for review.
About the book
The time has come for Jane to sell the family home. Downsizing to a flat means that everything must go, but her late husband’s favourite chair is far too precious for the tip.
Meanwhile, Robyn, balancing her precarious career as a portrait artist with raising an autistic son, is searching for a chair with panache that will allow her sitters to pose in comfort.
Elsewhere in the city, Tracey is clearing out her wardrobe at the same moment that divorced and cash-strapped Debbie is frantically seeking a prom dress for her daughter.
None of these women have ever met until Freecycle brings them together and their lives are about to be changed in ways they could never have imagined.
What I thought
For anyone who might remember, Freecycle was made up of local groups run via Yahoo Groups where people could post their unwanted items for anyone who could make use of them and vice versa, people could post their ‘wants’ in the hope that someone might just have what they were looking for. The philosophy behind it was that first and foremost people should give their unwanted items away rather than add to landfill, but also that people should give as well as take.
This book is the stories behind those who decide to give away items they once treasured but also the stories of those who have a need for them and why. And it really does make for a compelling read as several families from different backgrounds learn a little give and take, not just of recycled goods but of love and kindness and in some cases a new lease of life.
There are several story threads going on. Jane who passes her husband’s old armchair on to artist and single mum Robyn, who thinks it will be perfect for models to sit on for portrait painting. Through Robyn’s children Jane becomes friends with Robyn, with Jane’s life gaining purpose the more she becomes involved. Jane’s grown up daughter Anna also benefits from her mother’s involvement with Robyn’s family, bringing them closer than they’ve ever been.
Tracy gives away a hardly worn evening dress after 16 year old Frankie’s mum appeals for help after the dress she bought for her daughter’s school prom doesn’t fit. But Tracy’s story isn’t really about the dress but her desire to always have the best of everything for their home and for their children, and why not? Until her husband Eddie loses his job.
Not all the characters, at least for me, were that likeable. Jane’s daughter, an only child has grown up to be single minded, somewhat selfish I thought, and unwilling to commit to long term relationships. It was very difficult to have any sympathy at all with Tracy for various reasons, at least for the first part of the book. But then you don’t have to like a character to find their story interesting and as characters develop, you find yourself at least reaching an understanding of what has led them to become who they are now.
The book moves along at a nice pace, touching on many family orientated issues, with both times of sadness and also joy and successes along the way. I really enjoyed this book from an author new to me.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
Misha M Herwin is a Staffordshire based writer. When not writing she runs workshops for adults and children, including youth groups at the New Vic Theatre, and events such as the 6×6 Story Café for Stoke Libraries. She spends what spare time she has with family and friends, reading, working in her garden and baking. Scones are a speciality.