They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.
I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight.
And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.
Right now, you probably think I’m going mad.
Let me explain…
Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?
I never had a space hopper (or skippyball as some might call it) myself when I was young but I do remember going to a certain birthday party in the late ’80s where every child was crazy to try it out, including me. It brings back memories and Space Hopper is all about revisiting the past and finding an answer to that burning question: would you go back in time if you had the chance? Maybe you better think twice before you say yes.
The novel should have been slightly out of my comfort zone since it’s about time travel but I never had a strange or uncomfortable feeling about it. One of the reasons I did like it so much is probably because it had the feeling of a contemporary novel dealing with a mother/daughter relationship more then it was about time travel. It all felt quite natural and of course it helped that Faye, the person subjected to time travel, was quite skeptic about it herself. The process of travelling isn’t glossed over and it was never just accepted as if it were nothing out of the ordinary. The fact is that it really is a big deal and more painful then you think. There are a lot of questions to ask oneself about the safety but on the other hand, aren’t all the risks, the bruises and cuts along the way, worth it if you can see your dead mother again?
Faye lost her mother when she was 8. She doesn’t remember much about it or what her mother died of exactly. She ended up with the neighbours who she called Aunt Em and Uncle Henry and she had a great childhood but they didn’t talked much about her mother or what happened to her. Faye’s a mother herself now of two young daughters and she feels that hole in her heart is still there. She wants to know what happened and who her mother was. Then a miracle happens, she finds an old space hopper box and reenacting an old picture of herself where she’s posing in the box, she suddenly falls through it and ends up in the year 1977. She only ever saw her mother through the eyes of a child so she grabs this opportunity to get to know her mother as an adult, without revealing she’s her daughter coming from the future. I loved that warm feeling of friendship between Faye and her mother Jeannie but I was in conflict sooner than Faye was… what if she didn’t get back to the present, or if she couldn’t let go of her mother, and what if she inadvertedly altered the past, would that change her life in the present?
Space Hopper was a delightful whimsical and warm novel but it doesn’t shy away exploring also bigger topics at times like having faith and living a life without fear for what is coming. I adored Faye’s blind friend Louis and his blindness brought a great perspective to the story. Albeit in a totally different context (he speaks of a very colourful emerald egg that he displays at his house) he says at one moment that you don’t need to see a thing to know it’s true.
The rollerskates that are displayed on the cover also are a wonderful reference in the story. In fact, I enjoyed many many different little scenes that played out. The ending of the novel was very touching, it wasn’t entirely unpredictable but it still gave me a sense of exhilaration (ok and a tiny bit of horror) to see how it played out in the end.
Finally, I loved the narration of this audiobook and Sophie Roberts is the best narrator I ever listened to so far, she really brings the story to life!
I received a free audiobook copy of this novel from the publisher Simon & Schuster via Netgalley. This is still my honest opinion.