Millie Bird is a seven-year-old girl who always wears red wellington boots to match her red, curly hair. But one day, Millie’s mum leaves her alone beneath the Ginormous Women’s underwear rack in a department store, and doesn’t come back.
Agatha Pantha is an eighty-two-year-old woman who hasn’t left her home since her husband died. Instead, she fills the silence by yelling at passers-by, watching loud static on TV, and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Until the day Agatha spies a little girl across the street.
Karl the Touch Typist is eighty-seven years old and once typed love letters with his fingers on to his wife’s skin. He sits in a nursing home, knowing that somehow he must find a way for life to begin again. In a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes.
Together, Millie, Agatha and Karl set out to find Millie’s mum. Along the way, they will discover that the young can be wise, that old age is not the same as death, and that breaking the rules once in a while might just be the key to a happy life.
What an interesting book! I love how original this plot was, and how fun Brooke made it, while keeping the serious underlying themes – no easy feat, indeed! Right from the start there’s a certain feeling of unease from Milly being left at the department store: who could do that to a child? And why?
These feelings of unease remain throughout the story in some ways, but are softened as Milly meets Karl the Touch Typist and Agatha Pantha, and they set off on an unexpected journey.
What I loved the most was seeing the world through Milly’s eyes. Children have such a unique, curious and unpolluted perception of things; her trains of thought were just fascinating. There’s something so pure and at times wise about a young mind and the questions they think to ask.
In turn, I also loved seeing the way that a young girl can change the lives and minds of even the most stubborn people, and how people you’ve only just met can have such a profound impact on you and your life.
This trio of unlikely companions have such a fantastic dynamic, reading the book was an absolute thrill, because you just can’t predict the turns the story will take. It’s a charming story of human character and breaking your comfort barriers.