- Tony Bayliss
Publisher: UK – Sparkling Books
The sensitive, gifted but troubled young Matthew cannot get to grip with everyday life. He turns against his parents, whose separation leaves him shuttling back and forth between homes. Estranged from his peers, and clumsy with girls, he has difficulty in making friends, and achingly yearns for a girl with whom to share his body and mind. Meanwhile the bright and beautiful Sophie starts to get mysterious emails from the boy of her dreams...literally.
This is a hard review to write as the subject matter in this book is a lot deeper and serious than my usual light reading. But that’s not to say that Past Continuous isn’t entertaining – it makes you think both as you’re reading and after you’ve put the book down. And it isn’t always an easy read. Oh, the prose flows well enough and at the beginning there are enough short chapters to keep the pages turning. However, it isn’t long before you realise what you are reading is a question. A question on the purpose of life, what makes human and the meaning of life. And perhaps most importantly - what makes us human?
The two main characters are both extremely bright, intelligent people but they both remain somewhat removed from other people and don’t tend to let others get close to them – this includes their parents as well as friends and lovers. While I could empathize with them to a certain extent I did feel their behaviour tended towards the selfish and didn’t think about how their acts would impact others. But this is an important element of the story and leads to those big questions that I mentioned. And their romance is by terms touching as they learn about each other and mysterious based on their unusual method of communication. I enjoyed being challenged while reading this and while my heart ultimately stayed with Matthew’s father – the most human character – I did enjoy the romance and various twists along the way.
With a haunting story and the ability to make you think while following an emotional and intelligent journey, this is a very good book that I hope more people pick up. Many thanks to the Slowest Bookworm, whom I won this copy from.
Recommended for fans of Jostein Gaarder and Alice Sebold. 8 out 10.