31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter
Publishing Date: 10th August 2017
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 314
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Humour
‘And in that instant, he knows in his heart that today is a momentous day; come what may, he and Alice will meet again, and life will never be the same.’
Alice is stuck in an internship she loathes and a body she is forever trying to change.
Ben, also in his early twenties, is still trying to find his place in the world.
By chance they meet one day in a London park.
Ben spots Alice sitting on a bench and feels compelled to speak to her. To his surprise, their connection is instant. But before numbers are exchanged, Alice is whisked off by her demanding boss.
20 minutes later
Alone in her office toilets, Alice looks at herself in the mirror and desperately searches for the beauty Ben could see in her.
Meanwhile, having misunderstood a parting remark, Ben is already planning a trip to Glasgow where he believes Alice lives, not realising that they actually live barely ten miles apart.
Over the next 31 days, Alice and Ben will discover that even if they never manage to find each other again, they have sparked a change in each other that will last a lifetime. In 31 Days of Wonder, Tom Winter shows us the magic of chance encounters and how one brief moment on a Thursday afternoon can change the rest of your life.
“31 Days of Wonder” by Tom Winter is a well – written, quirky and modern story that took me by surprise. There are comedic moments, as well as many poignant ones and it introduces us to quirky, different characters. It turned out to be a very different kind of book to this what I read – not your usual romance or mystery – but there was still a lot of heart in the descriptions and writing.
As I am used to books that describe the lives’ of characters that eventually get together, of their paths criss – cross, I was a little confused when I eventually got to learn that it’s not going to be the case here – and it’s not a spoiler because we can read it in the synopsis already, and somehow I’ve missed this part. But whatever.
Nevertheless, I just couldn’t get into the book. This issue that I’ve just mentioned above when the characters don’t come together was one of my problems – please do not sue me but for me the characters’ paths must cross during the story because if it doesn’t happen then why write about them in one book? Yes, of course, I DID get the message of this book, that a chance meeting may change your life for better and for ever, but for me it just didn’t wow me. I can’t help it.
But of course there were things that I did like in this story. It is told during 31 days, one chapter for one day, and a story about normal people with issues, written in the third person and two alternating points of view. Ben has health problems that are not that apparent at first – and to be honest, only mentioning that he needs his pills etc didn’t help to get into the story, I’d love to know from the beginning what it was that he had, maybe it would help me to understand him better. Alice has weight issues and really, I don’t know who the people around her were as they didn’t have any problems to tell her that yes, she’s fat. Even her own mother. It didn’t make me to warm to this part of the story as well, even though Alice was likeable and relatable kind of girl. Both those characters learn lots about themselves during their 31 – days – long journey, and we together with them.
The characters and the situations are very down – to – earth and they are believable. They both find themselves in works that feel dull and unnecessary, they have friends that are more or less supportive, they both share a flat with other people, have difficult relationships with their closes ones and it should be relatable for me but it just felt flat and whiney – I am truly sorry that I felt like this because I had great hopes for this story. Yes, it was a different read and I finished it, and I enjoyed it but there was this “something” missing, this something that makes the read exceptional.
“31 Days of Wonder” is a story about changes and seeing good things in yourselves, about taking control of your own life and earning respect for yourself. It shows you that in fact you don’t need a lot, that sometimes one smile from a stranger can change everything and how important it is to find the thing that makes us happy. Even though it was not my favourite read, I still appreciated the way the plot went, and how much depth and heart there was in the writing style and storytelling.