Book Review - How to be Brave

How To Be Brave - Louise Beech

Beautifully written, emotional story that will stay with me for a long time!

This was a stunning read, and I don’t just mean in the shocking sense because I’m terrified of sharks. Before starting How to be Brave, little did I know how brave I was going to have to be. I’m so glad I didn’t know about the sharks beforehand, otherwise I might not have dared to read this beautiful book, which would have been a great shame, as it is easily one of the best books I have read this year so far.

How to be Brave is about the relationship between a mother, Natalie, and her nine year old daughter, Rose, shortly after Rose is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This diagnosis takes them on an emotional journey of fear, frustration and love, as the two of them try to adapt to their new lives, and the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter is challenged.

Alongside this contemporary storyline is the truly emotional and sometimes harrowing historical tale of Rose’s great grandad while he was lost at sea near the end of the Second World War. This is a mixture of fact and fiction, and I have to say it was so emotional to read, experiencing the fear of the men fighting to survive thirst, starvation, heat, fear and boredom. This is a story of true human strength that gives us that will to survive no matter what life throws at us.

As the two stories entwine throughout this book, there is a magical feel to it, which brought shivers down my spine. It reminded me of one of my all-time favourites, The Neverending Story. Not for all the strange creatures, although Scarface had pretty much the same response from me, as that terrifying wolf-like creature, Gmork, did all those years ago. It was the aspect of reading and through that, communicating beyond boundaries that seem possible, that made me think of The Neverending Story. Truly magical and mesmerising!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary, historical and emotional reads about human struggle.