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I am now a real fan of Donna Hay's book and when I saw this one in a charity shop for the bargain price of 50 pence, I decided I would grab it and have a go. I have loved the 2 previous Donna Hay books I have read so I expected that I would like this one too, and luckily for me, Hay did not disappoint, with her realistic and fun story-telling style!
A quick bit about the author for those of you who haven't heard of her, and I am sure there are a few of you! Donna Hay is the author of 7 books, and Some Kind Of Hero is her 4th book. She has won critical acclaim for most of her novels, and her debut novel called Waiting In The Wings won the Romantic Novelists Associations New Writer of the Year award.
Ok, now back to this novel. Some Kind of Hero follows the lives of 2 people living in the same town, and living very similar lives. Tess Doyle is a teacher, and is the mother of a 17 year old boy called Dan who is her pride and joy. Dan was born with an illness meaning he is in a wheelchair, and I think this adds to Tess' guilt and wanting to please him in everything she does. Tess will do anything for Dan, and lives her life completely for her son. She has not had any contact with her son's father for many years, but Dan decides he wants to make contact with him, causing Tess to question how his reappearance will affect their lives.
Meanwhile on the other side of town, recently widowed Jack Tyler is struggling to juggle his important job with the bringing up of his 2 young daughters. He doesn't know how to communicate with them, and is worried when older daughter Emily starts to go off the rails. He starts to see a girl at work, which seemingly just pushes Emily further away. He meets Tess when she tries to help Emily out, but Jack is unsure that he interfering is actually helping his daughter. The two clash at first, but begin to form a friendship.
This book is a very pleasant read indeed, and moves along very nice. I found the characters, especially those of Tess and Jack were very well written, and had a great background which enabled me to really understand their behaviour and why each of them was so keen to put their children before anything else. Any parent knows you have to sacrifice your own wants and needs, but I suppose this is even more of a case when you are a single parent, as both Tess and Jack are. They have their own struggles, and are trying desperately to find a solution which is going to suit everyone.
This really is a story of how much a parent will sacrifice for their child, even their own happiness in some way or form. I very much liked the differences and also similarities between Dan and Emily, the children of Tess and Jack. Both feel that they are the most important thing to their parents, but it is interesting how Dan is wanting to introduce new people into his family, while Emily is doing the exact opposite and trying to push her dad's girlfriend away, even though it results in pushing her father away as well. I did somewhat dislike Emily as she seemed a selfish character, but then you have to remember she is only 14 and has lost her mother, so you begin to feel sorry for her. I was pleased with how mature and independent Hay wrote the character of Dan though, he was a lovely 17 year old boy and I hope Harry turns out as polite as Dan is!
As is typical in a chick-lit novel, there are mishaps which prevent the 2 lead characters from getting together but to be honest, these just keep you wanting to read more and more to find out just what is going to happen between the two and thinking that things just have to work themselves out! I have found this is the case for all 3 Hay novels I have read, and I really love her writing style.
This book was a great one to read, it is a pure chick lit novel and it made me very grateful that I have my partner with me so that the guilt of parenting is shared between the two of us! The 2 lead characters were very likeable, and the twists and turns throughout the book made it a fun read, and scenes which were at Tess' school made me laugh and remember my school days, even though they were only a few years ago! I just hope I never behaved like some of the kids in the book! Hay's writing style is great, it is easy to read and very enjoyable and I look forward to picking up my next Donna Hay novel soon!
ISBN: 978-0752859071. The book is published by Orion mass market paperback and the new edition was released in September 2004. The book has an RRP of £6.99 but Amazon are selling it for £3.49 (plus delivery). 336 pages. The older version is still available, on Amazon marketplace from just £0.01p (ISBN is 978-0752840994, release date Jun 03).
For more information on the author and her books, visit her website at www.donnahay.co.uk
Thank you for reading!
This was the first book I had read by Donna Hay, although I had heard of her book 'Goodbye Ruby Tuesday' and knew that that had some good write ups. 'Some Kind of Hero' was a good introduction to this author and I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
Generally I would say that it is quite a light read although it does deal with some more difficult issues such as the loss of a parent, and how children deal with this. It also shows how parents, particularly in difficult circumstances, allow themselves to be manipuleted by their children.
The main character in this book is Tess Doyle. She is a single mother, abandoned by her son's father before he is born. Dan, her son, was also born with an illness which has consigned him to a wheelchair. Therefore, pretty early on in the book you realise that life has been no bed of roses for Tess! However, she has got on with life and is currently a teacher and Head of English at the local comprehensive school. Some of the lighter moments in the book are when Tess is at school particularly when she is having run ins with Cynthia Frobisher, the somewhat intimidating deputy head!
Into Tess's class enters new girl Emily. Tess immediately forms a bond with Emily, who is extremely troubled by the sudden death of he mum less than a year ago. Through her dealings with Emily, Tess comes into contact with her father, Jack, and it is obvious to the reader from the start that there is an instant attraction between the two. Unfortunately, they both have a certain amount of emotional baggage and also children who have different ideas for them.
Tess's son Dan has a desire to reunite his parents, whereas Emily and her younger sister Sophie, feel that their dad would be bing disloyal to their Mum by seeing someone else.
As the story unfolds, we see how Tess and Dan, although drawn to each other, never put themselves first. There are also a number of misunderstandings along the way which thwarts the pair from getting together. In many ways, it is an agonising read because you really hope that the pair are going to get together and right up until the last page you are kept guessing.
The main characters are extremely likeable and you do find yourself caring about what happens to them. All of the children are quite complex in their different ways and it is possible to feel their pain and anguish. I think, in these days, where a typical nuclear family is more often the exception than the rule, it is a useful book to read if your family is something other than the norm. It helps to put a lot of things in perspective.
I was very impressed with this book and with Donna Hay's style of writing. I like the way that some of the more difficult issues are intermingled with lighter moments at school, like the putting on of the school play which is quite funny! As I said. it is the first book of Donna Hay's I have read, and I will certainly be on the lookout for more.
What do you do as a single parent when your kids don't want to share you with anyone else - except the person you least want? Single mother Tess is used to having to fight for her disabled son's rights, and is wary of getting too close to men. But Dan, at seventeen, is more independent than she realises, to the extent that he has taken it upon himself to bring his parents back together whether Tess wants it or not. Meanwhile, to their Yorkshire town moves Jack, a widower with a mountain of baggage and a stroppy teenage daughter. In this sparkling novel Donna Hay tackles tough issues with warm-hearted comedy as she writes about love and families - and being some kind of hero.