Many thanks to Jenny Platt for the blog tour invite and ARC of ‘The Last Act of Adam Campbell’. Here is my review of Andy Jones’ novel for today’s stop on the tour:
What does TWG think?
What would you do if you found out that your time on Earth was limited? That you were in fact dying? Would you get your affairs in order so your loved ones wouldn’t have to deal with it after your passing? Or would you do what this crazy bunch of people did and brought Shakespeare into the 20th century?
When I say that they’re crazy, it comes from a place of warmth as I really dont know whether I would be able to do what they did. In all honesty, I dont want to think about it at all so, if you finding stories about death and cancer very difficult to read, I highly suggest taking a step back from this. Reading about death is never going to be easy, regardless of the form it is presented in. However, when a story approaches death in an honest, poignant, and humourous manner, the fear surrounding that particular topic diminishes ever so slightly.
I’m not going to delve into each of the characters lives as I feel that would take it away from what the author was trying to do. What I will say is that the group of characters mentioned in this book, all have such colourful and memorable personalities that you won’t tire of quickly. I would even go as far to say that they even make you feel as though you’re one of the family. That is not so good when it comes to the inevitable though….if you catch my drift!
For me, the first and last chunks of the story were the best ones. At around the 20-40% mark I felt as though the storyline was a bit stuck in the mud and seemed to contain a bit more padding to it than absolutely necessary. I didn’t tune out of the story, yet I found my attention faltering a little throughout that twenty percent.
That said, I throughly enjoyed the other 80 percent of the book. I actually feel quite bad saying it like that because I dont want anyone thinking that I found the heartache in the story entertaining. I didn’t enjoy the death aspects – who would? Yet I appreciated the journeys of each character and their strengths until the very end. The whole concept of self picked families, support, legacies, and preparing loved ones for the day that you would be no more, was beautifully done and brought several tears to my eyes.
One character said that they missed ‘their daddy’, and it was that one sentence which broke my heart because my own father passed away three years ago and, whilst I never had the type of relationship with him that resulted in me calling him daddy, it hurt that I would never utter those words again. Well, due to estrangement it’s been a while anyway, but it was still a tough pill to swallow.
Its evident that Andy Jones has lost a loved one or two because you simply cannot fake the emotion that this book had. You dont know loss until you have felt it for yourself and it doesnt matter how many times you google it, it wouldn’t come as freely as someone who had experienced it in their lifetime. As heartbreaking as it is, I was impressed by the honesty and I truly feel that Andy Jones has done his characters, his story, and his readers exceptionally proud.