My book review of 'The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman' by Julietta Henderson

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman

by Julietta Henderson
The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman
by Julietta Henderson

There's so much to love about this book!

Norman's best friend Jax has died suddenly. Norman is a sensitive boy, who suffers terribly from psoriasis, and the laughter he and Jax shared always got him through. Now, pulling himself through his grief, Norman decides to honour Jax's memory by going ahead with the goals they set each other - to perform a comedy act at the Edinburgh fringe, to look after his mum Sadie, and to find his dad.

Sadie is a young single mum. She had a troubled early life which saw her seeking to lose herself through drink and a series of casual relationships. She loves Norman with a passion and fears she's getting things wrong as a parent. She's devastated that her son now wants to meet his father, not least because she doesn't know who he is. But she determines to help Norman in his quest.

Leonard is Sadie's work colleague. He's an elderly gentleman who is wasted as a cleaner, so he leaps at the chance of helping Sadie and Norman. He drafts spreadsheets, becomes a whizz at the internet and social media, and fires up his vintage motor to drive them up to Scotland, seeking out Sadie's former partners along the way.

I wasn't sure how this plot device was going to work. But it's so beautifully and sensitively handled. Sadie had a difficult time and, arguably, she made some poor decisions but she is devoted to her son and it's hilarious how they confront the various men who have very different lives and experiences to their own.

This is a book full of kindness. It presents the difficulties of being a single parent, the fears of dementia and old age, the trauma of sudden death and grief, the challenges of coping with a skin condition, the arguments against judging by appearances, and second chances, all handled with joy and humour! The characters are tremendous - they leap off the page and the story is packed full of content, action and pace. It's brilliant and I was sorry when it came to an end. Wonderful!

Review date: December 2020
Publication date: 1st April 2021