Night Waking is the story of a family with two small boys who are spending some time on a deserted Scottish island. And it is awesome. I loved every page of it.
The parents are both academics and the boys keep mum Anna awake every night. Raph, the 7 year old, is a typical geeky boy, reading encyclopedias and obsessed with how things work – and disasters. But it’s toddler Moth that I fell completely in love with. He is the most accurate representation of a toddler I’ve ever read in a book. He’s hard work, yet I want him! At first I thought, ‘what sort of a name is Moth?’ but soon it became perfectly normal.
These are just some of the random examples of Moth’s speech that made me fall in love with him:
‘Bye bye, man. Off a go. All gone tea.’
‘Sharp, Mummy. Careful.’
‘Go away people. Moth not like visitors.’
‘Mummy not got a penis.’
‘A mouse took a stroll. Mummy sing it.’ (Mummy has to sing The Gruffalo in the middle of the night.)
Early on in the book, Raph and Anna discover the skeleton of a baby. While struggling with the boys and sleep deprivation and trying to work, Anna tries to piece together who the baby was and why it was buried in their garden.
The reader is given clues to the mystery with letters between the chapters from a young lady who moved to the island to work with the impoverished families who lived there in the 19th century.
From reading the book, you build up a really clear picture not only of life on a deserted island in the present day, but also of the hardships of life living in such a community 200 years ago.
It really is an amazing book. For the mystery. For the glimpse of history. And for Moth.
Night Waking comes highly recommended and I defy anyone not to fall a little bit in love with Moth.