I was thrilled when I was recently offered the chance to review this book as I have read and enjoyed previous books by Gisele Green. I knew from the synopsis that this was going to be a really good read but I didn’t anticipate it being quite as incredible as it was or quite so heartwarming.
Adam is a nine-year-old boy who doesn’t have the easiest of lives. He lives with his elderly Nan, who is unable to take care of him – in fact, Adam is taking care of her on his own and as a result is neglected. He is also being bullied at school but has nobody to help them. One day his nan tells him who his father is so Adam decides to write him a letter thinking that this could be the answer to all of his problems.
Nate is a war reporter who is suffering from PTSD. He has been unable to leave his house for weeks and as a result his life is beginning to fall apart, his job is at risk and as a result so his his home. He doesn’t know where to turn, he doesn’t know how to make it better and he is ashamed to tell anyone he knows what he is going through. Then one day he receives a letter in a child’s handwriting and when he opens it he discovers that the letter is from a boy, Adam, who believes that Nate is his father. Nate is certain that this boy is not his child and feels that he must at least let the boy know that he has the wrong person.
Jenna is a talented tattoo artist who has just returned to the UK following a break up with her fiance. She needs to find a job as soon as possible in order to be able to sign a lease on a flat and while it’s not what she really wants she ends up taking a job as a substitute teacher. On Jenna’s first day at her new school she sees Adam being bullied and steps in, she is immediately concerned about the boy.
The lives of all the three become increasingly intwined from this point on as both Nate and Jenna do their best to help Adam.
The thing that all three of these characters have in common right from the start was that they all had a tendency to run away from their problems: Adam was covering up his neglectful home life and would often run away in the night just to think, Jenna was literally running away from a broken relationship, and Nate was metaphorically running away in the sense that he couldn’t face up to his PTSD. I think they sensed their similarities in each other and that desire they all had to find a better life, which is why they all bonded so quickly. Jenna, as Adam’s teacher, has a duty of care to Adam but she soon goes above and beyond to try and help him, and Nate has no duty at all tot he boy but he can’t help but feel for him and wants to try and help him.
I have to commend Gisele on her the way she portrays PTSD in this novel. So often when a novel has a character with this condition something will happen (e.g. they will fall in love) and the PTSD just miraculously disappears and this makes me so mad. I have personal experience of PTSD and it’s not something that just suddenly goes away but sometimes having someone in your life that gives you encouragement to get better, who understands and supports you, can be the thing that you need to start making changes, and this is what happened with Nate. His anxiety gradually lessens as the novel goes on but it’s apparent that it’s still there and he’s just learning to control it better. It’s very refreshing to see anxiety being dealt with in this way.
This is such a wonderful novel that is ultimately all about how sometimes the right people will come into your life at the right time and they will make such a difference. It’s about how your problems won’t go away just because you’ve found someone to love you but it might give you the impetus to work on your issues and to leave your past behind you.
I rated Dear Dad five out of five out of five and can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s such a beautiful and heartwarming novel, and one not to be missed!
Dear dad is out now and available from Amazon.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.