My sister and I participate in a book club with a few other friends. James Hannah’s book was our first in a while, and a good choice to get us back on track.
Ivo is the narrator of the story. He’s in hospice, although he doesn’t feel like he belongs there. As part of helping him cope with his situation, his nurse suggests he make an A-to-Z list. For each letter, think of a body part, and a memory that corresponds with it.
Each chapter is a letter and tells Ivo’s story of his various parts. There are flashbacks to his past, as well as what is happening to him currently. What doesn’t change is that every memory relates to “you”. It takes a bit of time to find out who this mysterious “you” is, although it’s obvious that it’s Ivo’s lost love.
There’s just enough suspense in the story to keep you reading on. Little bits of Ivo’s history are told at a time, which, to be honest, started getting frustrating for me. I wanted to know now who all of these people are and what happened to them!
I also had a hard time with young Ivo. Without giving anything away, I will say that he made some seriously stupid choices in his years, and it certainly didn’t help him any. His life may have turned out a lot differently if he had been more conscientious about what he was doing.
It is a sad story, but there are plenty of bright moments in it. Ivo’s list tells that he had a lot of love in his life, even if there were hard times. The ending gives you a sense of closure about Ivo’s story, and makes you wonder about what comes next for the people who care about him.