Monday, 3 October 2016

Book Review: What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Book: What Milo Saw

Author: Virginia Macgregor

Pages: 400 pages

Read: The paperback edition pictured above

Read in: Off and on over 2 days

Plot Summary: A BIG story about a small boy who sees the world a little differently

Milo curled his thumb and forefinger together to make a small hole and held his fingers up to Al's eyes. 'Look through here. That's what I see. Kind of, only worse.'
'Wow, that must be amazing.'
Milo shrugged. 'Not really.'
'I mean, it makes you focus, doesn't it? I bet you see all kinds of stuff that other people miss.'

Nine-year-old Milo Moon has retinitis pigmentosa: his eyes are slowly failing and he will eventually go blind. But for now he sees the world through a pin hole and notices things other people don't. When Milo's beloved gran succumbs to dementia and moves into a nursing home, Milo soon realises there's something wrong at the home. So with just Tripi, the nursing home's cook, and Hamlet, his pet pig, to help, Milo sets out on a mission to expose the nursing home and the sinister Nurse Thornhill.

Things I Liked: 

1. I loved the simple yet moving narrative. There are the stories of two main characters and their experiences, pain and struggles. One, obviously, is Milo- a nine year old boy who is gradually losing his eyesight and the other is Tripi/ Tahir- a 24 year old Syrian refugee who has lost his sister on their journey to England. I loved each of the stories and how in spite of their own difficulties, these two characters help and look out for each other. 

2. I loved Milo! He is such a sensitive and thoughtful little boy. He is going through such a horrific time in his own life (losing his eyesight) but he is still focused on looking out for his Gran (great-grandmother) and how she is being treated at the Forget Me Not Nursing Home. On observing that not only his Gran but every senior at the Home is being treated shabbily and given terrible food, Milo decides to do a sting operation to expose the horrible Nurse Thornhill and her cruelty. Plus, he also has a pig called Hamet! Super cute! 

3. Tripi (real name Tahir) is also a really lovely character. He is a Syrian refugee, who works as a chef at the Forget Me Not Nursing Home and is appalled at the sheer neglect and heartlessness of Nurse Thornhill, but he can't do anything about it directly because, well, he is a refugee and effectively homeless. Tripi is looking for his little sister, Ayishah, who he was separated from in Aleppo. Tripi's memories of Syria and his life before the conflict, once again, bring home the fact that what we consider normal and take for granted can be gone in the blink of an eye. 

4. I also loved how real this book was- real people, real struggles, no miraculous happy endings. Sometimes we need a dose of reality in a book because it is just too easy to neatly tie up everything in a story as a happy ending. 

5. I also loved the other characters in this book- Gran (Lou) and her desire to not be a burden on Milo (who was her primary caregiver), Sandy (Milo's mom) and her struggle to stay afloat once Milo's dad left them, Nurse Heidi- who needed her job but was not afraid to stand up for what was right.. some very, there's that word again!, real characters who re-discover their courage and strength when they see how hard Milo is working to expose Nurse Thornhill. 

Rating: 4.5/5

This is a very sweet and moving book that will touch your heart and re-kindle your faith in people. 

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