04 Aug Home by Penny Parkes
Anna moves around – but will she ever move on?
What does home mean? It’s a question with an answer that Anna Wilson has been searching for since her father walked out and her mother abandoned her when she was just six years old, to a series of foster homes.
At 30, despite her Oxford degree, she still leads the life of a Nomad, working as a home and pet-sitter for affluent families, with no settled abode of her own.
But a narrow escape from a sexual assault by one of her clients forces her to confront the reality of her life – it’s time for Anna to finally do some serious heartsearching and explore what is stopping her from moving on from her abandonment issues.
This was a compelling if sometimes unsettling read. Anna is a complex character, spiky and aloof, somewhat intellectually snobbish, and quite difficult to warm to at first.
But as the story of her childhood emerges, she wins our empathy and understanding as we gradually realise where her inability to fully trust people and her real fear of failure springs from.
Despite some of the awful things she’s been through, she’s loyal and loving to her friends, and compassionate to those in need – including Callie, a problem teenage who reminds her so much of herself.
But Anna can’t truly reach out to others until she reaches inside to her true self.
Apart from Anna, there are some super characters here – Margery, her first foster mother; Kate, her best friend; Henry, a young man she meets while home-sitting, Annabelle, an old lady who teaches her that life doesn’t have to be all earnest, and Callie herself.
They help the narrative along, providing sometimes welcome relief when Anna’s understandable navel-gazing gets too intense.
Home not only poses the question of what home and family means, it offers a rewarding insight into how the journey to self-discovery can be difficult, emotional and draining, but always, always worthwhile.
Home by Penny Parkes is published by Simon & Schuster in hardback, e-book and audible format
About the Author
You’ll also find her on Facebook @PennyParkesWrites
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