Book Review. One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips.

Her betting slips

her football pools,

her lottery tickets,

her loose change,

her notes,

her lists …

her endless lists,

the contents of which we never quite know





One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days
by Giles Paley-Phillips

A novel, written by way of poetry in the style of Toffee or The Poet X.

The poetry format worked so well in One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days. The sparse writing doesn’t tell, its characters are gradually revealed to us through their habits and interactions with our protagonist. The story follows one boy’s grief, from being ill himself, to then the dying of his mother and the neglect of his dad and being taken care of largely by his Nana Q, although at times he has to console her. A child trying to look after an adult. It was the poems of his going along to the betting shop with his Nana, or shopping, the relationship that they have was depicted so well. As was his relationship with Freya.

I thought Giles Paley-Philips also described being alone, to the backdrop of being at school, well. With it all going on around him and being disengaged. I could relate all to well to those poems. And him taking back some of the power – reclaiming control by choosing to not go to school.

I was in tears by the end. I think this is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

He will be allowed to visit his mother soon. His mother who is terminally ill, his mother who he has been barred from seeing as he recovers from his own bout of pneumonia.

Until then, with the help of his physiotherapist Freya, he must navigate his increasingly empty and isolated existence: his father, who finds solace in the bottom of a glass; his Nana Q, whose betting-slip confetti litters her handbag; his friends, who simply wouldn’t understand.

Time passes with the promise of soon, but one hundred and fifty-two days later the boy will come face to face with his grief, and move beyond to a world full of possibility, hope and love.

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ditch perfect

IT IS NOT EASY

to work on yr writing when you have hundreds of thoughts in your mind

IT IS NOT EASY

to work on yr writing when you have many potential distractions

IT IS NOT EASY

to work on yr writing when you have a list of chores to do

IT IS NOT EASY

to work on yr writing when you have had a shit night/day/evening

IT IS NOT EASY

to work on yr writing when you feel like a fraud/imposter/loser/unqualified

IT IS NOT EASY

IT IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY

PERFECT DOES NOT EXIST

THE PERFECT CONDITIONS IN WHICH TO WRITE DO NOT EXIST 

sometimes I get stuck in a rut with my writing and I have to remind myself of these points. It is not easy but it must be done. And it doesn’t really matter in which ways you go about writing either.

Pathway

the way through looks long –

too far into the future

you only want to get home

confirmed as you walk

and muscles begin to feel taut

repeated occasions of this walk

start to feel easier though –

to feel shorter

and you glance

back – which you must never do

and think how much time has passed

on this self-same path

how the journey receded gradually.

More of my poetry can be read on my Patreon