Tuesday 12 April 2022

The First Day Of Spring by Nancy Tucker | Book Review

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The First Day Of Spring by Nancy Tucker
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Penguin
Publication date: 18th May 2021

'So that was all it took,' I thought. 'That was all it took for me to feel like I had all the power in the world. One morning, one moment, one yellow-haired boy. It wasn't so much after all.'

Chrissie knows how to steal sweets from the shop without getting caught, the best hiding place for hide-and-seek, the perfect wall for handstands.

Now she has a new secret. It gives her a fizzing, sherbet feeling in her belly. She doesn't get to feel power like this at home, where food is scarce and attention scarcer.

Fifteen years later, Julia is trying to mother her five-year-old daughter, Molly. She is always worried - about affording food and school shoes, about what the other mothers think of her. Most of all she worries that the social services are about to take Molly away.

That's when the phone calls begin, which Julia is too afraid to answer, because it's clear the caller knows the truth about what happened all those years ago.

And it's time to face the truth: is forgiveness and redemption ever possible for someone who has killed?

This book is just all kinds of heartbreaking. It opens with the line "I killed a little boy today," then when you discover that the narrator is an eight year old girl, you are drawn in.

The story follows the life of the aforementioned eight year old, Chrissie. She chokes a toddler to death and everyone is shocked at the thought of a child killer being amongst them.

We learn that Chrissie's home life isn't the best. It is clear that she is very neglected by her mother. She is left to fend for herself most of the time which has obviously affected her. She just wants to be loved.

These chapters of Chrissie's childhood are interspersed with chapters from Julia's point of view, Chrissie's new identity. She is a mother herself now but how can she be the perfect mother to her daughter given her childhood?

The First Day of Spring is shocking and I went from feeling angry and disgusted at Chrissie's to genuinely feeling sorry for her. It's an emotional one! 

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