Author: Virginia Macgregor
AUS Publication Date: 29th July 2014 (Published by Sphere)
Reminds me of: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Lost & Found by Brooke Davis
What Milo Saw is a novel with real heart and depth. Nine year old Milo Moon suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, meaning his vision is deteriorating to the point he will eventually go blind. But Milo’s vision isn’t his primary concern. He’s more worried about convincing his Mum not to ship his Gran out to a nursing home. With the aid of his pet pig, Hamlet, Milo sets out on a mission to bring Gran home. But if only it was as simple as convincing Mum that Gran is better off at home. Told from multiple perspectives, the plot line twists and turns connecting each characters point of view unsuspectingly.
I have to admire Macgregor for the depth of research gone into her debut novel. She touches contemporary themes of disability, family, refugees and dementia so it has appeal for a lot of reading groups but makes it difficult to categorise as a sole genre – hence I’m going by contemporary. You don’t get swamped with an information overload when she slips these issues into the plot line. She does it so simply and professionally that the outcome is truly touching. The blatant honesty of a child speaks big truths adults tend to ignore. The ending is bittersweet, but like the entirety of the novel it will make you smile and get a little teary at the same time.
Macgregor is a truly talented writer so it’s hard for me to actually critique her writing. It seems there’s a bit of a trend in the publishing market with a fair few titles to be released told from a child’s perspective. You either write it wrong or right and Macgregor did it very right. What Milo Saw is not a novel I’d pick up in a bookstore. It’s not a genre I usually read, but I’m very happy I took the time to read it. Saying that, it took me a bit to actually immerse myself in. I sometimes lost interest in the plot – it’s hard hitting at times.
What Milo Saw is one of those books that will stick with you way after you’re done. If you’re looking for something fresh and different, it’s a title I strongly recommend.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆