“Wow. Just wow.” These were my first thoughts on reading the final page of Tabitha Bird’s incredible novel.
A Lifetime of Impossible Days is, at its core, a heartbreaking love letter to therapy after childhood trauma.
I adored the writing, I miss the characters already and I wholeheartedly endorse the argument that you can’t change your past. But if you focus on healing yourself in the present you just might manage to change your future.
Super Gumboots Willa is 8 years old. She lives with her violent father, selfish mother and tells her little sister stories about babies with wings to distract her and protect her.
Middle Willa is 33 years old. She keeps her husband at arm’s length and prowls the house at night, cleaning and cleaning, while her two small sons are sleeping, to avoid facing her past.
Silver Willa is 93 years old. On 1 June 2050 she posts two soggy cardboard boxes to her 8 year old and 33 year old selves. Inside the box is an ocean which must be planted in the garden under the mango tree.
The magical ocean forms a bridge between the Willas so they can visit with each other. All the Willas are in a race against time, although only Silver Willa knows what the stakes are. But Silver Willa is fighting dementia and must gather together the tangled threads of her thoughts for long enough to do what needs to be done.
This is an absolutely incredible story – impossibly funny, heartwarming and wonderful to be immersed in. Yet heartbreaking and traumatic. I wanted to reach through time and reality to pull Super Gumboots Willa out of her life and bring her somewhere safe.
I also want to be as lively as Silver Willa when I’m 93 – insisting on wearing bright yellow gumboots down the main street while shuffling along on my walking frame.