The Inconvenient Need To Belong by Paula Smedley – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

In the summer of 1953, twenty-year-old Alfie steals away from his troubled childhood home in London to start a new life in Exeter. His own life.

And at first it’s everything he ever dreamed it would be. For the first time in his life Alfie feels like he belongs.

Today, in a care home in the Midlands, eighty-six-year-old Alfie is struggling to come to terms with his dark past.

Alfie’s story is one of regret, the mistakes we make, and the secrets even the most unassuming of us can hold. But it is also a story about family, friendship, the things we should treasure and protect, and how the choices we make can shape our lives and the lives of others.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Every now and again I like to read a book that is a bit different and I’m so glad I chose to read this lovely novel. I found it to be one that made me think about the world a little differently.

Alfie is the main character in the novel, much of the story concerns his life in a care home. He is in his 80s, lonely, set in his ways and looks forward to his visits to the library on Wednesdays where he can write to his pen pal and the park on Saturdays where he chats to Fred. Only one of these activities is really allowed, his visits to the park are noticed by Julia, a care nurse, but she chooses to let him carry on.

The other part of the story concerns his life when he was much younger. The many mistakes he made, the people he loved and the family he left behind. He wasn’t an easy person to like, but I had a lot of sympathy for him. Especially towards the end of the novel when I realised how lonely he felt. 

It wasn’t a book that had me in floods of tears but it was one that made me appreciate a lot what tales all those who live in a care facility have to tell. Their memories, good and bad. Reading the letters exchanged with his pen pal and reading about his meetings with Fred, I got to know the real Alfie. Not just the cantankerous, often unfriendly elderly man. 

A lovely story that I was very happy to read.