Preston, 1981. Maud, who is twelve and lives with her dysfunctional parents and her elder brother, spends a lot of her time in her bedroom writing letters to her favourite popstar, Tom Harding, the lead singer of a punk band called Horsefly.
No one really understands her or tries to – and she thinks Tom just might have some answers to her many, many questions…
***Thanks to NetGalley and Unbound for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
I was not prepared for how much I was going to love this book.
13-year-old Maud is writing letters to her rock star idol, Tom. After the first letter, I had no idea how I was going to make it through 400 pages of this. By the end of the second or third, though, I was hooked. These are diary entries masquerading as letters and every thought Maud seems to have is expressed on the page. She is sweet and sincere and it’s painfully obvious she feels trapped in her small town and her emotionally unavailable family. She has one friend, Sarah, and is working on making a second. Her letters are a roller coaster of emotions and events and she never shies away from telling the whole truth. Interspersed with interviews from magazines and radio with Tom and his band, part one is fairly one-sided, focusing on Maud.
I refuse to give anything away because the emotional journey through all three parts is incredible. Maud and Tom are incredibly well-written and believable complementary protagonists. Maud’s world, seen only through letters, is complex and vivid and the vulnerability she shows writing over and over to a stranger with no reciprocation is telling of how starved for love and affection she truly is in her day-to-day life. And while we only know Tom through the brief interviews and phone records and band meeting minutes that are revealed occasionally between letters, they paint a detailed picture of a misunderstood and lonely artist.
By the time I made it to part three, I found myself tearing up. I would highly recommend this book to anyone ready to go on a serious journey. You will not believe how far it will take you.