Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Book review : Notes On My Family - Emily Critchley

Notes On My Family by Emily Critchley is undoubtedly a teen read, but even as a grown-up, I loved reading through it, participating from a distance in the trials and tribulations of Lou, the thirteen-and-a-half year old narrator. Lou has a few issues and is quite possibly on the autistic spectrum - she won't eat starch and protein together and has specific food colours for set days, for example, but nevertheless, she often appears to be the most sane and settled person in the family !

The book begins with a family meal - well, calling it a family meal is perhaps going slightly too far, as the Dad decides to choose this moment to announce that he and Mum are about to get a divorce. And he is currently dating a sixth-former. In his daughter's current school. Where he is the PE teacher. Things just keep going from bad to worse !

While Lou, along with her elder sister Sarah and her cooking-mad and quite possibly gay brother Mickey, come to terms with the new state of affairs, their mum has a ‘brief psychotic episode’, shoplifting and almost burning down the house.

Unbelievably, things do start to get better though. Accompanied by a supporting cast of weird but wonderful characters, including their nan (who goes to seances) and Lou's new best friend Faith (who has six gay 'parents' bringing her up), Lou manages to get through most days, at school and at home, in pretty much one piece. 

Coming of age is never simple and Lou seems to have an awful lot thrown at her, but she ends up being the heroine of the novel, when her brother, struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, disappears and Lou, along with her whole mismatched family, manages to track him down.

It's a fun, upbeat read, despite the content, and I really felt for Lou. Any teens going through one (or possibly even more !) of Lou's issues would undoubtedly find reassurance and strength, as well as a moment of light relief, through reading the novel. 

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Everything with Words (18 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911427059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911427056

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the novel.


  1. That's one complicated family. Is dating a sixth-former even legal? No wonder his poor wife is losing her mind, imagine finding such a thing out. I often enjoy YA books, so will keep an eye on this one.

    1. There are an awful lot of people with big problems in the book, but I did really enjoy it !

  2. This sounds like an interesting read and something a bit different.


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