Book review: The Pursuit of Ordinary by Nigel Jay Cooper

I was given an advance copy of this book through The Book club on Facebook in exchange for a fair and honest review.

What would it be like to one day be walking along the road with your wife, feeling the impact as a car crashes into you and then to be watching your wife cradling your dying body?  But then you realise that you aren’t watching yourself die from some faraway place, but you are actually in a body and have a voice….that belong to someone else?!

Pin for later

Pursuit of O Pin

Dan is a homeless man, wandering the streets of Brighton when he witnesses this fatal car crash and his life changes completely.  His head is suddenly inhabited by someone else, claiming to be called Joe and saying that he is the dead man.  How can this be happening?  Add into the equation the wife of dead Joe, staring at him at the scene of the crash and asking over and over if he saw it….Dan/Joe doesn’t know what is happening!  Sometime later he comes across the wife, Natalie, sitting in the park and after he speaks to her, he determines to follow her home and Joe wants to tell her that he is still here.

Natalie is stunned when the homeless man turns up on her doorstep several months after the death of her husband Joe with his story.  She surprises herself and Dan when she lets him into her home, and then into her life.  Does Natalie truly believe that her husband is somehow now inhabiting another man’s body, or does she have a different motive for inviting a stranger into her home?  Does she even understand this herself – after all she is a grieving widow?  As Dan starts to open up about his life before he found himself on the streets, is it possible that Natalie can help him to find his way home again?

gloomy-mystical-style-mood-159069.jpeg

This is a beautifully crafted surprise of a book.  The storyline is actually very simple, dealing primarily with human relationships and emotion. The writer manages to explore bereavement, grief, love and anger, whilst also including domestic abuse, family conflict, manipulation, miscommunication and mental illness.  The growing relationship between Natalie and Dan is fascinating as they learn to trust each other and themselves.  They are flawed characters and yet the way that they change and grow made me alter my opinions of them along the way.  Mr Cooper has written these characters with such compassion and tenderness that it is impossible not to care for them.  I felt that this care was also shown toward the secondary characters – Dan’s father, Natalie’s parents and even Joe’s mother.

This book is not what it seems to be at the outset.  But then the title should give us a clue, as what is the definition of “Ordinary” – it will be different for all of us.  In the current climate it is wonderful to read a novel that has such a positive and empathetic insight into mental health and mental illness.  There are surprises for both the reader and the characters as to who has the greater needs and the importance to have insight into one’s own situation.  Whilst the story is simple and focuses on these two, or maybe it is three people, there are many twists and turns that will pull you in and certainly had me hooked.

pexels-photo-48566.jpeg

I found this an intense and emotional read from start to finish and would describe The Pursuit of Ordinary to be absolutely extraordinary. A huge 5 stars!

Publisher: Roundfire (27 april 2018)

Goodreads Author: Nigel Jay Cooper

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nigeljaycooper/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nijay

 

Available from

AmazonUK:

AmazonUS

Waterstones

Barnes and Noble

Foyles

WHSmith

About the Author – Nigel Jay Cooper

Writer and author, born in London, England. He now lives in Brighton (via Nottingham) with his partner, their two children and greying ginger dog.

nigel-headshot.jpg

Following on from the success of his bestselling debut novel, Beat The Rain, Nigel’s second novel The Pursuit of Ordinary will be published on 27 April 2018 and is available to pre-order now. Nigel was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in the Best Debut Author for Beat The Rain. Nigel previously worked as a writer and editor for Channel 4 Television and as a newspaper sub editor.

He’s a sometime marathon runner and occasional actor and singer in local musical theatre productions. Sometimes his brain switches off and lets him sleep, but not that often.

Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Good morning – just about at the time of writing – and welcome to February.  It is a freezing morning here and we have even had a few flakes of snow – yours truly plans to stay indoors for the day.  It must be cold as the lovely girl actually put on a coat when she went out to do her paper round this morning, and believe me this is unheard of!.  Then it took hubby nearly 10 minutes to defrost the car windscreen, which was just as well as the student engineer and his other half wanted a lift to the station, but they were both still in bed 10 minutes before hubby needed to leave to get the girl to school!!  I have never seen two young men get out of the house so fast!!

Never a dull moment in our house this week with umpteen trips to see different doctors.  Gastroscopy on Monday – “would you like sedation, Claire?” “err…do I look stupid? Of course I want sedation!!! I’m a nurse and I have seen these….” – orthopaedics on Tuesday,(will write a proper post), GP on Wednesday.  Dad was really disappointed that I couldn’t arrange anything for Thursday and Friday!!  But of course there was the Blue Moon to distract everyone…or not in our case as it was too cloudy to see….and for me it really didn’t matter as fatigue and brain fog as dense as those clouds took over.  Well that is my excuse and I’m sticking to it!pexels-photo-271897.jpeg

I wouldn’t want to leave out the middle child – particularly as we did receive contact from our politics student that wasn’t football related.  At 11pm Saturday night the ipad pinged and a message popped onto the screen – words to the effect “I have flu, I’ve thrown up everything I’ve eaten…what do I do?”.  Isn’t it amazing how these young, independent adults suddenly want their mummy & daddy for advice?  I mean what does he really think we are going to do from 300 miles away?  That makes me sound awful, and I’m not, honest – it just amused me. pexels-photo-416520.jpeg“Keep drinking….no, not alcohol, water!  Paracetamol….well ask a friend to go buy you some…..and don’t exceed the 24 hour limit!!”  We did speak to him yesterday and half his halls have flu, but I think he will survive.  I mean, I have had a shoulder hanging out again all weekend – what is he complaining about?? (This is tongue in cheek for those of you now wondering about my sense of humour – believe me, the son in question has the driest, darkest sense of humour around!)

untitled-document

In England the 1st February was #TimetoTalk Day – recognising and talking about mental health and illness.  I hope that opening up about this health issue is not confined to one day only, and I have found some great blog posts that focus on different aspects of mental health.  There is also a cosmetics review, some tips for all us bloggers to help our writing, and tips to juggle a busy life.  Two posts that really jumped out at me this week: one is published on a new blog, Chronic Pain India – please read the story of Namrata, A Hashi Warrior; the second is something close to my heart as an ex NHS nurse – the decision of The Ealing Mummy to leave the NHS.

Pin for later:

Monday Magic 5th Feb

 

So give yourself that break from whatever you are doing, grab a cuppa, sit down and explore some fantastic blog posts!

https://avionneslegacy.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/staying-afloat-while-riding-the-waves-of-depression/

https://myanxietymatters.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/the-amazing-power-of-storytelling/

https://chronicpainindia.com/2018/02/02/the-winning-horse-a-hashi-warrior/

https://phayteaspulse.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/simple-guide-to-having-a-daily-blog-routine/

https://www.raisiebay.com/2018/01/dont-look-forward-look-back.html

https://orianasnotes.com/2018/02/02/review-urban-decay-naked-illuminated-trio/

39977405952_111e1b996b_b
Image courtesy of Oriana’s Notes

https://chronicillnesstraumastudies.com/patient-medical-history-new-doctor-appointments/

http://honestmum.com/my-tips-on-juggling-work-and-family/

http://theealingmummy.com/the-day-i-was-interviewed-live-on-bbc-television/

http://butstillbreathing.com/hypocratic-oath-a-letter-to-all-the-doctors/

Please give some feedback and comment, like, share posts!

Have a great week,

Claire x