Still reeling from the sudden death of her mother, Jess is about to do the hardest thing she’s ever done: empty her childhood home so that it can be sold. But when, in the process, Jess stumbles across the mysterious Alex, together they become custodians of a strange archive of letters, photographs, curios and collections known as The Museum of Ordinary People.
As they begin to delve into the history of the objects in their care, Alex and Jess not only unravel heart-breaking stories that span generations and continents, but also unearth long buried secrets that lie much closer to home.
During the pandemic, two of Mike Gayle’s books – Half a World Away (2019) and All the Lonely People (2020) – were a constant on my social media feed and often discussed in every bookclub I’m in. I added them to my TBR and had every intention to read them but for one or the other reason, couldn’t get around to it. When The Museum of Ordinary People became available on NetGalley, I was quick to request for it and thankfully, was approved.
The premise of the museum as a place to hold memories is beautiful. Objects, worthless in monetary value but holding stories that are invaluable in emotional worth, are rescued from abandonment and given a safe home. In some ways this book reminds me of the Museum of Material Memory: a digital repository of material culture and memory.
Be it Alex’s history or Jess’s struggle with being unable to let go, they find a purpose in the museum of ordinary people. The author’s writing tugs at your heartstrings. He makes it seem so real and personal, turning the ordinary into something unique and special.
A poignant and thoughtful story of grief, of love for the memories we hold, and of loss for the things we leave behind. I know I will always cherish this book and the immensely emotional experience of reading it.
The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle. Published in July 2022 by Hodder & Stoughton, a Hachette UK company. This ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton.
Book 28 of 2022.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟.
Available on Amazon*.
Mike became a full-time novelist in 1997 following the publication of his Sunday Times top ten bestseller My Legendary Girlfriend, which was hailed by the Independent as ‘full of belly laughs and painfully acute observations’, and by The Times as ‘a funny, frank account of a hopeless romantic’. Since then he has written sixteen novels, including The Man I Think I Know, selected as a World Book Night title, and Half A World Away, selected for the Richard and Judy Book Club. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages. In 2021, Mike was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
He lives in Birmingham with his wife, kids and greyhound.
You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link which means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
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