Not Thomas, Sara Gethin

The lady’s here. The lady with the big bag. She’s knocking on the front door. She’s knocking and knocking. I’m not opening the door. I’m not letting her in. I’m behind the black chair. I’m waiting for her to go away.

Tomos lives with his mother. He longs to return to another place, the place he thinks of as home, and the people who lived there, but he’s not allowed to see them again. He is five years old and at school, which he loves. Miss teaches him about all sorts of things, and she listens to him. Sometimes he’s hungry and Miss gives him her extra sandwiches. She gives him a warm coat from Lost Property, too. There are things Tomos cannot talk about – except to Cwtchy – and then, just before Easter, the things come to a head. There are bad men outside who want to come in, and Mammy has said not to answer the door. From behind the big chair, Tomos waits, trying to make himself small and quiet. He doesn’t think it’s Santa Claus this time.

When the men break in, Tomos’s world is turned on its head and nothing will ever be the same again.

Not Thomas is a shocking, emotional, moving novel that will tug on your heart strings and make you cry until you can’t think you can’t anymore. It is a novel that is deeply poignant and this kind of book is rare, it is sheer brilliance and already I will compare it to Room because of its poignancy and later aspects which I will discuss later on in my review! Here is a little bit more about this beautiful novel.

Our novel is narrated by our protagonist five -year old Thomas aka Tomos. Thomas has had a harsh upbringing and he does not know any difference to his ‘normal’ life. He is a young boy who is having a disastrous up-bringing thanks to his mother; His mother has some issues and she is young and as the story unfolds we learn more about her and her actions and how she cannot seem to stay away from dangerous men which of course affects poor Thomas. Her parenting is so bad that a neighbour walks him to school every morning and how his teacher feeds him sandwiches due to his obvious poor nutrition. As well as this Thomas at home sees to himself with regards to food and amusement, his usual dinner is a packet of crisps but because Thomas is such a lovely boy full of compassion he saves the pink ones for his mother. This is all I will stay about the story because what happens next is truly gripping and heartbreaking at the same time, this novel deserves to be read and read it you should book lovers!

Not Thomas is a book that will captivate you and pull on your heartstrings. One thing I really loved about this story was that the author Sara Gethin was a primary school (or elementary school) teacher so one she understand how a 5 year old thinks and acts but two, how she will also know about the warning signs you must look out for when you are looking after the children and how to spot signs of abuse. As a mother I know many primary school teachers and many of them have become close friends and they too say how shocking it is that children are still being abused in all ways today and how they have to be very alert to spot the warning signs. I too once noticed a child my own child plays with at school was withdrawn and quiet and I immediately knew that something was wrong so I reported the child and thank god that child is re-homed now. My point is that if you do believe there is something different about a child you see when you drop your children off at school then please tell the school straight away. They will watch the child and if they believe something is up they will report it and that child will then have a better life.

As a mother this novel was incredibly important to read for me. It was very hard for me to read because I have children and the thought of the things that happens to Thomas happens to my own breaks my heart so it is important for all women and even men to read this. Earlier in my review I discussed how this beautiful novel could be compared to Room and so it should be. Of course, both novels are narrated by 5 year old children and yes, in both novels the narration takes a while to get used to but once you do it is magical. What is also similar is that both of the boys are in terrible situations. The writing is beautiful in both and it is simply stunning but the only difference between the two is that Ma in Room is not a horrible parent but I guess in this novel we can see the mother being horrible like Nick in Room and the people at the school and the neighbours being lovely and protective like Ma in Room…. I hope this makes sense!

Our author Sara Gethin has done a superb job at writing an emotive but entertaining read. It is very hard to do this with a narration that is of a 5 year old boy but she done it effortlessly so and that shows the true talent of her writing and her thinking. Her character Thomas is simply beautiful, he is such a lovely boy and his narration is compelling and enthralling at the same time. I personally believe that this novel would be excellent for book club reads just like Room as it explores important themes and has many discussion points.

To summarise my thoughts on this wonderful novel I would say if you are looking for an emotive read that will captivate you and make you feel all kinds of emotions then you will adore this novel! This enchanting novel gets Five Stars from me!

Goodbye for now book lovers,

P.S. Here is a preview of the book for all of you lovely readers to enjoy! If you have loved what you have read and want to buy the wonderful novel then you can click the buy on amazon button and it will take you straight to Amazon U.K.! If you are international then click the Amazon USA link underneath it! Thank you so much for reading!

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