Monday 1 April 2024

Maybe It's About Time - Neil Boss

Two people trapped in their different worlds. One by wealth and one by poverty. Twenty years working for The Firm has given Marcus Barlow everything he wants but has taken his soul in return. Finding a way to leave has become an obsession.

Claire Halford’s life hits rock bottom when she is caught stealing food from Tesco Express. Left alone by her husband with two small children and an STI, her suicide music is starting to play louder in her head.

A chance meeting brings them together. As a mystery virus from China starts to run riot across the country, their world’s collide and they find they have more in common than they knew.

Set in the early months of 2020, Maybe It’s About Time is a story about the difficulty of changing lives for the better. Starting as a funny and satirical view of the egocentric world of professional services, it gives way to a heart-warming story of an unlikely friendship that rejuvenates Marcus and Claire, giving them both hope for a better future.

What did I think?

Maybe It's About Time is a poignant and powerful novel set during the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020.  Although I'm sure none of us will ever forget this horrific time, it is brought back to life in a haunting and sensitive way through Neil Boss' carefully crafted writing.  Each chapter ends with the date and this simple but powerful sentence felt like a death knell; it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it now.

Marcus and Claire live completely different lives.  Marcus and has family want for nothing as Marcus has a well paid job in the city; a job that Marcus hates.  Claire's husband left her with two young children and her benefits don't provide enough money to feed them.  The stark contrast between wealth and poverty is disturbing but very sobering to read.  I feel incredibly fortunate that I've never had to worry about putting food on the table.

Marcus's work life really resonated with me as I was guilty of living to work rather than working to live in my last job.  I think if you've ever worked in an office you will appreciate Marcus's chapters more as I found it very entertaining.  I'm glad I wasn't working during the pandemic as I would have never got any work done for all the Zoom calls.

There are some very funny moments in the book that had me laughing out loud and the humour is very well balanced as it doesn't detract from the seriousness of the pandemic situation.  Even though I had an idea what was going to happen, it still brought a tear to my eye at the end.  There are a few unresolved parts of the story that have left it open for a sequel and I can't wait to read what happens next.

Haunting, emotive and compelling, I laughed and I cried whilst reading this beautifully written book.  It's an important and powerful novel that everyone should read and I really can't recommend it highly enough. 

I received a gifted paperback for the Love Books Tours readalong and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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