The Vanishing Of Margaret Small By Neil Alexander
‘The Vanishing Of Margaret Small’ is the latest book by Neil Alexander.
Meet Margaret Small: 75, plain spoken, Whitstable native and a Cilla Black super fan. Shortly after the death of her idol, Margaret begins receiving sums of money in the post, signed simply ‘C’. She is convinced it must be Cilla, but how can it be? To solve the mystery of her benefactor Margaret must go back in her memories almost 70 years, to the time when she was ‘vanished’ to a long-stay institution for children with learning disabilities.
This story is one of the most beautifully written stories that I’ve read this year, with a clever and sensitive storyline and a leading lady that you desperately wanted to get her happy ever after.
The story is written in the past and present tense of Margaret Small, who from a young age until her early forties spent her life in hospitals under the watchful and controlling eye of nurses. Margaret is a meek girl who likes to keep other happy and throughout her time at the hospital she made friends and lost friends. She’s independent but was never given the chance to read and write and has to rely on others to help her and when she’s given the opportunity to life outside in the real world with the help of her kind carer and Madonna fan, Wayne. Now into her 70’s, Margaret real companion is the Cilla Black autobiography that she listens on her CD Walkman and she has a real connection and admiration for the Liverpool singer. But when she starts receiving mysterious notes and money marked from a sender called ‘C’, Margaret is convinced that Cilla is trying to reach out to her.
There are so many elements of this story that I genuinely loved, Margaret’s sweet and witty way of behaving, her relationship with Wayne and Cilla. The scenes of the harsh treatment of hospitals back in the 1940’s from the nurses and fellow patients and just the general flow of the story with its many twists weaved throughout.
I’m not sure if this is the first book by Neil but if he’s written more, I’ll certainly be looking into them as he really knows how to create a character that’s relatable, engaging and and the reader forms a connection with. His writing is witty, empathetic and really pulls the reader into Margaret’s world, speaking her dialect and seeing the world through her innocent and sheltered eyes.
A tender and poignant story that will make you cry, laugh and break your heart all in one go, ‘The Vanishing Of Margaret Small’ is a heartwarming story with a leading lady that you’ll immediately fall in love with.
You can buy ‘The Vanishing Of Margaret Small’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.