Well I have got on track with 2o Books of Summer again but appear to be reading or reviewing three books for it at the same time – this one won, and I’m also reading “When God Spoke English”, which is quite involved but very good, and “Mrs Ali’s Road to Happiness” which goes deeper than you might expect and is unputdownable, so will probably beat the Adam Nicolson book to completion, too. I am enjoying the breadth of books I’m reading for the challenge and hope to complete all the non-Virago and Persephone ones this month so I can concentrate on those next – they are quite varied so I won’t get bored reading from the same publisher. See my 20 Books of Summer list here.

Miriam Toews – “A Boy of Good Breeding”

(05 December 2016 – from Sian for my BookCrossing Birmingham Not So Secret Santa)

Yay – I’m on to books from December so only 8 months behind … but December and January always take up a disproportionate amount of my TBR, what with Christmas, birthday and the odd book-buying expedition.

In this engaging novel, Hosea Funk is the mayor of Algren, a town with around 1,500 inhabitants. This number is important, because it makes it a candidate for being the smallest town in Canada, and thus attracting a visit from the Prime Minster. Not only that, but Hosea, a man with a mysterious background, believes he has a link to the PM and daydreams about him appearing in the town. So Hosea won’t let his girlfriend move in, hovers around the hospital, annoying the only doctor and panicking about triplets, not actively wanting people to die but … And he gets stressed when his old friend Tom’s daughter Knute moves back to town with her daughter, Summer Feelin’.

Knute’s trying to deal with her anxious mother, poorly father and oddly behaving daughter (she flaps and tics; she’s quite plainly on the autistic spectrum but is accepted and encouraged to accept herself for who she is, which is a nice touch) and the reappearance of Summer Feelin’s dad [there should be two apostrophes there but I can’t do it!], maybe a deadbeat, maybe not.

I loved the portrait of small-town life, where everyone knows everyone else, of peripheral characters like the man who wants to be fire chief but is always having his farm moved out of the town’s borders (but is very much not a comic character, with his own dark back-story) and Tom and Hosea’s long and taken-for-granted friendship. Although there are some slightly icky sections which I had to skim, this is a warm-hearted and endearing read.

This was Book 11 in my #20BooksOfSummer project

What are you reading? What’s the best book you’ve read this summer so far?