When nine-year-old Katie’s gran comes to live with the family, Katie is forced to share a room with her moody big sister, Lou. They soon discover that Gran has an imaginary, mischievous friend, Mr. Nobody. Before long, stockings are found cooking in the oven and Gran is found wandering the streets in her nightie, singing along to Elvis. As Gran’s actions become even more peculiar, Katie begins to wonder if Mr. Nobody might actually be real. And why do her new friends, Margaret and Hugo, always appear just when she needs help?
Mr Nobody by Natalie Gordon was longlisted in The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2014, and is self-published by the author.
Narrated in alternating chapters by nine-year-old Katie and her Gran Vera; Mr Nobody is an extremely well written story aimed at children and young adults.
Vera is widowed and it is clear that she is unable to continue to live by herself, so Katie's parents decide that she must move in with them. This means that Katie has to give up her bedroom, and share with her older sister Lou. Neither Katie or Lou are pleased at the thought.
Life for the whole family soon becomes one of chaos and upset, as Gran's antics become more and more dangerous and upsetting. Lou is hostile towards Katie. Mum and Dad keep falling out and Gran just blames everything on Mr Nobody.
Katie struggles to understand why her once-loving Gran behaves like she does. Sometimes she's so funny, she bursts into song and dances around. Sometimes she's very dangerous, she almost sets fire to the house. Sometimes she is embarrassing, she turns up at Katie's school wearing her bra over her jumper, and leaves suspicious brown marks on Katie's bedroom carpet. Sometimes she's frightening, she picks up a knife, she's not afraid to strike out.
Mr Nobody is a sensitively told account of how Alzheimer's Disease can affect a whole family. The strain on relationships, on friendships are plain to see, and Natalie Gordon has taken Katie's voice and given the view of a small child who sees things as they are. Katie doesn't really understand that her Gran is sick, things are hidden from her by her family, she's considered too young to understand. Yet it is Katie that is able to connect most with her Gran, despite the hurt and upset that is caused by her being in the house.
Mr Nobody is a great read, and although aimed at the children and young adult market, I really enjoyed reading it.
My thanks to the author, Natalie Gordon who sent my copy for review.
Natalie Gordon received her MA in creative writing from Lancaster University in 2013 and the following year she completed her debut children's novel, Mr. Nobody, which was longlisted in The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2014. It is written for children aged 9-12 and was inspired by her own childhood experience of having a gran who suffered from Alzheimer's.
When she's not writing children's fiction or dreaming up stories, Natalie works as a business writer and consultant. She lives in a beautiful corner of Cumbria with her husband, two daughters, one cat, one dog and two rabbits.
To find out more, visit www.nataliegordon.co.uk