If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.
Well what can I say. This book was a suprise to me. It blew me away and left me crying and laughing.
First of all, Melody might be one of my most favourite characters in a book (and I’ve read a lot of books!) Let me first talk about the singing…
As you’ve seen from the blurb, Melody has a condition where in stressful situations she bursts into song. I loved this element. The song choices by Emma were just perfect- Queen’s “Don’t Stop me now”, Shakespeare’s Sister’s “Stay with Me” and Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” to name a few.
The situations she finds herself in and the songs she then sings as a result of them, are hilarious as they are ironic and relatable. The fact that she gets the lyrics to most of these songs wrong, made it a laugh out loud book for me. I was reading a section to my husband and was nearly crying with laughter. A line from Prince’s “When Doves Cry” became “Missus what a cheese finds”. If this doesn’t get you reading it, I don’t know what will…
So, apart from Melody and the songs which I have gone on about for too long already, there were many other amazing elements to this book. I loved the family and the way they relate to each other. Dev is no longer around and obviously Rose and Flynn have difficulties because of that situation, but the bond between the three of them is so close. The children have learnt to deal with their mother’s singing in public and their love for her leaps off the pages.
She would also do anything for them and rallies to help them in their various times of need. This then leads to the journey of trying to find their father again.
There were some tear-jerking moments as that journey developed. As a reader you will be really taken aback with the twists and turns that follow. It’s an intense rollercoaster of emotions as the family start to face some very serious challenges.
I loved this unique storyline and the fact that I definitely didn’t see a lot of it coming. I don’t want to say too much to give the plot away, but this clever storyline deals with issues such as self-harm, terminal illness, PTSD and so much more. The main characters are so relatable and loveable and I was rooting for every one of them.
I loved Emma’s writing and her sense of humour really came across in many ways. There were sentences such as describing a wheelie bin on collection day as “a brave soldier facing the elements, awaiting it’s disembowelment with resolute pride”. Again, it was so relatable and made me chuckle.
The conclusion of the book is by no means straightforward and I do have to warn you to keep some tissues handy. But even in the heartbreaking moments, Emma manages to make this a wonderfully uplifting book, filled with hope and possibilities.
The message for me in this book was that love goes deeper than even our subconscious, to always be prepared for the unexpected and to live life to the fullest. It’s warm, hilarious, heartbreaking and has a storyline that is original and eventful. I thoroughly enjoyed it and encourage you to go and read it as soon as you can!
“The Songs of Us” is published by Headline and more details are here.
(Many thanks to the ‘always-lovely’ Phoebe Swinburn for sending me a proof copy.)
Until next time,