Book reviews

Holly – A story of youth and independence

I am in need of writing this post because since I read the book a couple of days ago, I am drowning in this tide of emotions that is barely letting my brain concentrate on other topics.

I am writing sci-fi and even though I am a lover of the genre, it is not my favorite at all. I love human stories, stories about people, people’s lives and the encounters they made.

Many of my top 10 books are those and some of them are, for example, The curious incident of the dog in the night time, The wasp factory, The penguin lessons and many others. Those are stories that hook you up from the first page to the last one and this means that they are incredibly good. 

Holly doesn’t do any less of a job in hooking you up through the pages but this won’t be a review simply because the nature of this post doesn’t require it. I could speak about the structure of the book itself but I am not an expert in comics so I’ll leave the job to someone who is more qualified than me.

This post will instead be a diary of all the emotions that the story left me so it will contain a certain amount of spoilers and, as per the nature of the post itself, it will be incredibly personal and absolutely subjective. The only objectivity will be the fact that I am suggesting everybody to read this story.

The protagonist of the story is Holly Grey, a girl living in a remote Scottish Island. She is full of the island and wants to leave to the mainland and during the story she will interact with people and she will need to see the pros and cons of the Island.

I personally never lived on an island but I interacted with people that lived (and some still do) in remote places and feel the urge to go to more accessible areas and beyond this, I passed many summers in this mountain location in Italy and I loved it, I still do, but that a place in which I could not go to live there permanently.

The same thing could be said about remote island around the world, it could be the best possible place but after a while I can understand how it could become a repetitive and grey place not suitable anymore for your desires. And this happened to me almost ten years ago, I moved from Italy to Scotland because I needed more and different experiences, experiences that I couldn’t have in my home city. Because of this I understand Holly very well.

Between family and new friends Holly had to find the way to detach herself from her little world and the bigger obstacle is school. Even though everybody tells her that passing her exams is extremely important since it can be useful for her future she doesn’t think so and this culminates in her failing her exam but at the end as she writes it in a letter to her mum, not everybody is done for school.

Another colossal point in Holly’s story is her mother that, as a parent, loves her so much. Furthermore, as the father is often away she may feel extremely alone and it could feel even more alone if the daughter goes away but this is a monument to the reality that sometimes we need to give space to who we love and find happiness in their happiness. After all the chick will have to leave the nest at a certain point in life.

There is a bit of love too, it is actually more a crush than a friendship is born and maybe some other will end but, at the end, the story culminates in a heartwarming scene at the dock where Holly finally takes her ferry to the mainland making the final encounter of the story.

I am maybe digging too much in the story and maybe Steve Ingram, the author, didn’t made all of this mental travels while writing the book but this is what art is, you can dissect a product how much you want and if it works in giving you different points of view from the pov of the artist it means is well done.

What to say to end this short tide of thoughts? I wish Holly the best possible life on the mainland and I hope she will find her way and future but… Please, come back home and say hello to mummy now and often.


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