A BIG story about a small boy who sees the world a little differently
Milo curled his thumb and forefinger together to make a small hole and held his fingers up to Al’s eyes.‘Look through here. That’s what I see. Kind of, only worse.’
‘Wow, that must be amazing.’
Milo shrugged. ‘Not really.’
‘I mean, it makes you focus, doesn’t it? I bet you see all kinds of stuff that other people miss.’
Nine-year-old Milo Moon has retinitis pigmentosa: his eyes are slowly failing and he will eventually go blind. But for now he sees the world through a pin hole and notices things other people don’t. When Milo’s beloved gran succumbs to dementia and moves into a nursing home, Milo soon realises there’s something wrong at the home. So with just Tripi, the nursing home’s cook, and Hamlet, his pet pig, to help, Milo sets out on a mission to expose the nursing home and the sinister Nurse Thornhill.
Insightful, wise and surprising, What Milo Saw is filled with big ideas and simple truths. Milo sees the world in a very special way and it will be impossible for you not to fall in love with him and then share his story with everyone you know.
*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
‘What Milo Saw’ by Virginia Macgregor is a great debut and unlike any of the books I’ve ever read. From the minute I read the blurb and Milo’s sad story, I fell in love with his little guy, who sees world differently to people with normal eye function. In many ways he’s a special boy, but despite suffering from retinitis pigmentosa he didn’t act as a victim.
Imagine looking at the world through a pinhole. The pinhole’s getting smaller at night and when it rains, and one day it would close up altogether and you’d go completely blind. That’s what 9 year old Milo is facing every day. But Milo is one very brave kid, who’s leading a somewhat normal life while being completely aware of his illness and limitations.
I honestly thought the plot would be centered on his illness and despite still being a sad story, it also tries to tell us that we shouldn’t always focus on the problems and grieving, but try to make the most of life and play the cards we were given. It’s when his grandma is moved to a care home that Milo experiences sadness for the first time. It’s hit him so hard, maybe even harder than when his dad left them and he tries to do everything in his powers to bring gran home. She’s the one who’s helped him embrace his ‘problem’ and the one who’s taught him how to make the most of his eye sight. They have a very special bond and some of his visits to granma’s care house ‘Forget me Not’ brought tears to my eyes.
In many ways Milo is a special boy, and ‘What Milo Saw’ is a special book. It’s definitely unlike any of the books I’ve read previously. While the protagonist is a 9 year old, I don’t think this book falls just in the YA genre. Of course, there’s a possibility most people will classify it as YA, however I can see it equally appealing for both the younger and more adult audience. Told from different point of views and telling Milo’s, Lou’s and Tripi’s story in chapters which are the perfect length, ‘What Milo Saw’ is definitely an enjoyable read and one that will stay with me for a long time. My only complaint would be the pacing, which kind of slowed down in the second half of the book, but nevertheless I still enjoyed it and kept on turning the pages.
It’s also thought provoking and made me question so many things, what would I see if I looked through Milo’s eyes? Is Milo’s bad sight a symbol telling us we need to see the tree first then the forest? Are people sometimes so immersed in life and their problems trying to see the big picture, they miss out on small every day joys? Why does Milo have a pig as a pet? Is it maybe a symbol for retinitis pigmentosa (PIG-mentosa)? I’m telling you, this book made me think a lot.
At times poignant, at times uplifting but enjoyable all the way ‘What Milo Saw’ is definitely one of the best debuts I’ve ever read. I honestly can’t wait to read more of Ms Macgregor’s works, she’s amazingly talented, has a knack for creating a clever plot and delivers. Safe to say I have HUGE expectations for her next novels and think she’s definitely an author to watch out for.
My rating: 8/10
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Virginia Macgregor had a nomadic early childhood, moving between Germany, America, Corsica and Oxford, where she finally settled at the age of four. It was here that she wrote her first words and fell in love with the English language. After graduating with First Class honours from Oxford, she did a PGCE and went on to teach English and to work as a housemistress. Virginia now writes full time and lives in Berkshire with her husband and baby daughter.