How To Be Brave
by Louise Beech
All the stories died that morning … until we found the one we’d always known.
When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued. Poignant, beautifully written and tenderly told, How To Be Brave weaves together the contemporary story of a mother battling to save her child’s life with an extraordinary true account of bravery and a fight for survival in the Second World War.
How To Be Brave is the story of a mother trying to help her daughter find a way to cope with a life-changing illness. When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it feels like their world has fallen apart. Rose is having real trouble coping with the injections and Natalie is looking for ways to help her through.
Rose always loved stories but now has lost all interest, but then a man in a brown suit keeps appearing to mum and daughter and he shows them the story they should be reading.
And so begins the interweaving of the two tales of bravery
In exchange for allowing the injections, Natalie tells Rose the story of an ancestor, whose ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II and his subsequent struggle for survival.
Louise Beech is a born storyteller; both the stories have incredible depth. The first with Rose and Natalie fighting against each other and Natalie trying to do the best she can for her daughter, whilst Rose becomes increasingly belligerent and unmanageable. It is only the second story that calms her and helps to bring her own troubles into perspective.
The story of Colin and his compatriots is brought to life brilliantly. You can almost feel the water lapping against the tiny boat, and the hardship endured is heartbreaking.
This is a book of love, survival,hope and most of all the endurance of the human spirit.