I hope you’re all well. Today I’m here as part of a wider blog tour to share with you a really wonderful book: The Shape of a Boy by Kate Wickers. Thank you so much to @KateWickers and @QuartoKnows for the opportunity of reading this and being a part of the tour! I can’t wait to share this brilliant book with you all! So, let’s get on with it!
What’s it all about?
This book is really a complete joy. To be honest, I’m not the target audience for this: I don’t have children. However, I still found myself really excited by it. Kate, her husband and three children: Josh, Ben and Freddie and the journeys they take over the course of their lives so far. I think it’s really important to show just how crucial family memories are but how they can be made based on the simplest experiences as well as the most incredible ones too. Starting with her own childhood memories, Kate Wickers talks about what she remembers growing up. The simplest things like drinking chocolate milk out of glass bottles, making friends with people who don’t speak the same language and riding a pillion. Therefore, now she has her own family, Wickers is really keen to challenge the belief that young children won’t remember anything. This book is a testament to that.
‘Most experiences were magical and exceptional, and on very rare occasions disconcerting. All were life-defining. I felt sure that there experiences would shape them Ito the adults they’d become, whether they remembered them or not.’
Each chapter is a destination that the family went on and the experience they gained there. Rather than ruining the whole journey, I’ve picked two that are my favourite. My first tells the story of Thailand, when Josh was aged three and Ben was aged two. Naturally, one may assume that this is such a long way to take young children but why not? I don’t blame her! The reason why I absolutely love this experience is because a simple mishearing results in the children thinking they are off to Toyland! What’s even more special is that by being honest and open with the children and sharing historical facts, it meant that they were totally on board. Ganesh, Garuda and Hanuman to the rescue!
‘From Garuda was Josh’s constant companion on our travels through Thailand, and poor Noddy rarely saw the light of day.’
Fast forward a few years; Josh now seventeen, Ben sixteen and Freddie twelve and the destination is Laos. Naturally being older, tensions can arise but this trip taught the family to slow down, relax and let things go. Trying to get the boys to step away from technology and electronic devices is a challenge. But, after some careful coaxing, the boys do it. On a trip to Mount Phou Si, climbing 329 steps to the summit, they spotted a lady selling birds which she’d trapped in tiny pink and yellow cages. The vision is fairly awful: anxious birds in a small confined space, with a cat watching nearby. Moral dilemma approaching… support a business that you don’t agree with for the greater good? Or leave them to more likely die? The boys chose to buy one bird each, consequently setting them free. Wickers isn’t too afraid to see the symbolism of the birds and her boys.
‘Their intentions were good, only for the welfare of the birds, and possibly a little to prove to me that they were now their own people now, free as a bird…’
Travelling to different places at different times, from pregnancy to teenage years, this book really does cover it all. I love the gusto that Wickers has and I really love the experiences that are being made or these children. She’s absolutely right – these family memories really matter. I was super jealous that they saw orangutans in Borneo, crocodiles in the Nile and zebras in Tanzania. I think there is so much to learn from this book and it is summarised perfectly by the mantra: ‘Have kids, will travel’. Part of me wishes that I had the travel bug when I was younger but this book gives me the hope that when children come may way, my travel dream might do too and that is possible and wonderful.
Until next time all!
Big love xxxx