What I thought:
I came to The Mountain in my Shoe with no expectations, only recently having heard of it. I instantly fell in love. The overwhelming feeling I had reading this book was what a breath of fresh air it was. Although classed as a psychological thriller, for me it felt worlds apart from the masses that are out there at the moment (for a start it didn’t have the words girl, sister or husband in the title) and there wasn’t the promise of a twist that I will never see coming (but that I end up guessing by a quarter of a way in). I loved the simplicity of the narrative but yet there was nothing simple about it at all; it was lyrical and exquisite and unique.
Bernadette loses three things on the same day: her husband (whom she is about to leave), 10-year-old Conor (a foster child she befriends and who disappears after school) and Conor’s Lifebook that she is looking after. Narrated in turn by Bernadette, Conor and interspersed with snippets from Conor’s lifebook, we learn of the events that lead up to this day and follow the efforts to find Conor.
This isn’t a traditional race-against-time plot to find a missing child, it’s so much more than that. It’s a revealing and heartbreaking look at a child’s experience of the care system and relationship with his real mother, and it’s about a suffocating and stifling marriage with a partner that controls every move you make. With complex issues such as mental health and abusive relationships, it’s deeply moving yet incredibly sensitively executed.
A stunning book. I found it incredibly refreshing to read something so beautifully written and emotive. Despite the themes of the book, do not expect this to be a gloomy or tough read, it really isn’t. It’s heart-warming and life-affirming and I will be recommending it to everyone I know.