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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