FACT: Families are messy.
The Hutchinsons are messier.
Goodreads blurb: About a Boy meets Parenthood in this smart, big-hearted love story about a family for whom everything changed one night, a decade ago, and the young boy who unites them all. Told through the eyes of Zac, Juliet, and grandfather Mick, Little Big Love is a layered, heartfelt, utterly satisfying story about family, love, and the secrets that can define who we are.
Over a decade ago, Liam Jones and Jamie Hutchinson were celebrating the birth of Juliet and Liam’s son Zac, who is also Jamie’s nephew. By the end of the night, Jamie was dead and Liam had fled town. The Hutchinson family all mourned Jamie’s loss in their own way, but none of them chose a healthy route of grieving. They kept the secret from Zac that his father was involved in his uncles death, instead telling him that Liam “did a runner” before Zac was ever born.
“Like, what’s normal? Everything that exists is normal – that’s why it’s normal, because it exists. Only things that you never see aren’t normal.”
10 years later….After an exceptionally bad date, Juliet comes home drunk and confesses to Zac that she has only ever loved Liam..kicking off a secretive “Find Dad Mission”. Zac and his best friend Teagan are determined to use their best detective abilities and find Zac’s dad and invite him to Zac’s birthday party. Zac knows he has to use his best sleuth skills because anytime he tries to ask about his father, he gets a different, but very unfavorable, response from his family. During his search, the family struggles to protect Zac while also understanding his need for a father figure.
First and foremost, I knew I needed to read this book due to the comparisons to Parenthood… seriously, that sh*t is my jam.
One of the components that made this story special was the character development. Regan truly created relatable characters, from their realistic emotions and reactions to difficulties that happen in real life, every day. The love that Juliet felt for her son jumped off the page. Zac’s desire to find his father was heart-warming and his witty personality made him (and Teagan) my favorite characters. Zac’s bullys made my blood boil and it flat out broke my heart to read the horrors this kid had to go through. At one point, I got so angry that I felt physically sick and had to take a break. Major props to Regan for invoking such strong feelings about fictional characters..that certainly doesn’t happen everyday!
Full disclosure: it wasn’t until I was a third of the way through that I really began to feel invested, but I think that was due to external factors (gardening, y’all!) but once I got hooked, I finished the book in under 24 hours. If you’re a fan of Parenthood, I highly recommend reading this book. The comparison pretty much hits the nail on the head. Little Big Love is a “feel-good” but with a more realistic tone (in some parts..it’s still fiction, guys) and it really warmed my heart!
From Goodreads: Katy Regan was born and brought up in the northern seaside town of Morecambe. Her claim to fame – aside from being possibly the only person in the world to get expelled from primary school – is that at the age of 16 she went to stage school in Surrey with Posh Spice. She worked at 19 magazine for two years before joining Marie Claire in 2002. ‘Highlights’ in that position included spending ten days in the buff on a nudist resort and becoming a footballer’s wife for a week — all in the name of investigative journalism. In 2004 at the height of her career as the office roving reporter singleton, she fell accidentally pregnant by her best mate (who just remained a friend). Seeing the creative possibilities in this unconventional situation, her editor commissioned her to write a column – And then there were three! which proved so successful it ran for two years and inspired many a reader to write in to Katy with their life story. She lives in south London and shares care of her son Fergus with his dad who lives across the road. Little Big Love is Regan’s US debut!
A HUGE thanks to Ryanne at Berkley Publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of this wonderful book in exchange for my honest review. It is a pleasure to share my thoughts!