This is a very special book. Full of heart and honesty it perfectly expresses a child’s view of an unfair world. AJ’s parents have learning difficulties and his grandfather, who used to keep everything going, has died, leaving it up to AJ to be responsible. He is a young carer with the weight of adult worries on his shoulders. Durrant beautifully portrays the suffocating nature of these anxieties and the way they drown out everything else.
But this is also a book filled with hope and family and friendship. It sings of the power of passion and following your dreams. It really is a very beautiful and positive thing.
Durrant’s writing reminds me of Hilary McKay’s; it has that same warmth and sensitivity and that sense of being in very safe hands. Her debut, Little Bits of Sky is just as powerful and accomplished.
It’s also wonderful to see an honest representation of working class families and of young carers so competently portrayed. No sugar coating or issue flagging here. Just a boy, doing his best and telling his story and winning our hearts in the process.
You can get your copy here.
Running on Empty by S.E. Durrant. Cover illustration by Rob Biddulph. Pub Nosy Crow.
Source – kindly sent for review by Nosy Crow