My Review of "Our Endless Numbered Days"
This had been on my "to read" list since it's publication in March as I had seen several reviews and thought the concept was very appealing. It was one of those books which you don't get around to reading, it got buried under more recent suggestions until I saw it on the "Quick Choice" stand in the library and thought it was fate guiding me to pick it! And then I kicked myself hard for leaving it so long! Isn't that always the way!
It certainly wasn't any disappointment and I am now a "Fuller Fan'! The book starts in 1976 when Peggy is eight years old. She is told by her father that the rest of the world has disappeared and they set off deep into the woods to a hidden shack where Peggy lives with her father for the next nine years, surviving in the wild with only the barest of rations that the forest can provide. The narrative then shifts to 1985 and Peggy's mysterious re-emergence to the modern world and a reunion with her mother. The novel is about trying to find out the truth about her time in the forest and what happened to lead up to her return.
I was intrigued by the concept (as well as the attractive book cover!). It's an imaginative premise; a parent driven to kidnap their own child and retreat into the wilderness, delusional about politics and the end of the world, fanatical about survival and planning for the apocalypse. And then Peggy's realisation that her father has lied to her for so many years - her family are not dead, they are alive, and have always been. Fuller presents all this with great descriptive and evocative writing. Her portrayal of Penny's relationships with both her parents is explored with realism and poignancy.
Fuller's writing is vivid - full of atmosphere and imagery in which you become fully captivated. The picture of Peggy "playing a silent piano" with wooden keys on the table as her only toy is powerful and resonants long after you've finished the book. It is very visual and easy to conjure in your own mind. In a way, you become as immersed in the secluded world as the two characters. Fuller also touches on issues like nature v nurture when she shows how Peggy copes with her father's behaviour in a world where she has no wider experience on which to draw.
The reader knows Peggy returns to the real world from the outset but don't let this put you off. There is still a dramatic climax and a surprise ending which will leave you deep in thought.
I rated this 4/5 stars and would highly recommend it. I'm pleased to see it sitting amongst the bestsellers in the book shops at the moment and I hope you will be tempted to pick it up - don't let it languish on your "to read" pile for as long as I did!
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