Sunday 10 January 2021

Space Hopper - Helen Fisher


This is a story about taking a leap of faith
And believing the unbelievable
They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.
I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight.
And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.
Right now, you probably think I’m going mad. 
Let me explain…
Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?
Space Hopper is an original and poignant story about mothers, memories and moments that shape life.

What did I think?

As a child of the 70s myself, and a previous space hopper owner, I couldn't wait to read Helen Fisher's debut novel, Space Hopper.  The must have toy of the 70s, I always found the grinning face on the space hopper to be a bit evil, especially when you consider that the handles look like horns.  I think the author and publishers are wise to keep the orange devil off the cover but also roller skates are pivotal to the story.

Faye is a 36 year old happily married mother of two but she feels as incomplete as a jigsaw with a missing piece.  Faye's mother died when she was 8 years old but Faye can remember very little about that period of her life.  Now that she is older, Faye has questions about her mother that her elderly adoptive father can't answer.  When Faye finds her old space hopper box in the loft she magically falls through it into the 1970s...right into her childhood home. 

Space Hopper really is as good as it sounds.  Actually, it's even better if you're a child of the 70s as it's filled to the brim with nostalgia; things like Enid Blyton books, skates that tie over your shoes, biscuits on plates and mothers with tissues up their sleeves.  I had forgotten about those skates and I got a warm fuzzy feeling remembering the noisy clattering sound they made and magic cream being applied to grazed knees after inevitably falling over.

Helen Fisher's writing is completely astounding; it's warm, incredibly vivid and almost interactive as Faye appears to talk to the reader.  I was so immersed in the book that I found myself about to answer her back at one point.  Faye's friend Louis is blind and there's a passage set on bonfire night where Faye describes fire to Louis and I just sat back after reading it and said: wow!  I was impressed, even if Louis wasn't!  With such beautiful writing, I'm definitely putting Helen Fisher at the top of my authors to watch list.

Without going into scientific details, Faye does explore the effect of her time travel.  Although it didn't even scratch the surface of the theory of time travel, I found this to be incredibly interesting and thought-provoking.  It should hopefully pacify those readers with more knowledge and opinions about time travel, whilst keeping those unfamiliar with it engaged and entertained.  

Space Hopper is astonishing, heart-achingly poignant and completely magical; I absolutely adored it and wholeheartedly recommend it.  It's a hugely entertaining nostalgiafest and if this isn't picked up for the big screen, I will eat my hat!

Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing an ARC via NetGalley; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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