Publisher: Harper Collins UK
Release date: 13 April 2023
Back cover blurb: Finding your way is never a simple journey… Alice sees the worst in people. She also sees the best. She sees a thousand different emotions and knows exactly what everyone around her is feeling. Every. Single. Day. But it’s the dark thoughts. The sadness. The rage. These are the things she can’t get out of her head. The things that overwhelm her. Where will the journey to find herself begin?
This is a very different novel to anything that I have read recently, and I loved it.
Alice Kelly is just 8 years old when she notices that everyone has a colour. She calls an ambulance as she believes her Mother is dead, as she is surrounded in a deathly hue. In reality her Mother is comatose having drunk copious amounts of alcohol and passed out prior to her Daughter's arrival home from school.
She doesn't realise her ability until the ambulance crew departs, and the colours surrounding her Mother turn red. She is livid. Alice realises she is able to see emotions as colours, but doesn't fully understand this until much later in life.
Alice has synaesthesia, which is where a percept or concept (such as words, sounds or touch) automatically triggers an experience in another modality (such as colour, space or taste) (link). Unable to cope with bright lights, Alice starts wearing sunglasses to school. When she refused to take them off in a lesson, and the teacher won't listen to her reasoning, she is labelled a trouble maker.
Alice is sent to a secondary school for those who have behavioural issues. There she makes a good friend who sees her for who she truly is. By the time she finishes school and plans to move away, her Mother has become ill and needs full time care, her older brother has moved overseas and her younger brother is in prison.
Despite their fractured relationship, it is up to Alice to care for her Mother.
When she finally leaves the family home to start her own life in London, Alice could be described as a little 'odd'. She wears a mask, sunglasses and gloves wherever she goes, and won't make physical contact with anyone. In an unknown period in time, (presumably pre-covid) this doesn't go down well when interviewees are wanting to shake her hand, and initially she struggles to find work.
Then one day on the tube, something remarkable happens there is a man sat opposite her who doesn't display any colours at all. Alice doesn't know what this means, but she does know that she must find out who he is, and get to know him.
I can't say too much more, as I don't want to give anything away, but I strongly recommend this novel if you are looking for something beautifully written, and a little bit different...
In a thousand different ways is available now via Amazon online and all good book shops.
Thank You to the publishers who approved my request via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.