by Sarah Winman
It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.
And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael,
who are inseparable.
And the boys become men,
and then Annie walks into their lives,
and it changes nothing and everything
This book is so darn cute. It’s a tale of love, loss, friendship, loneliness and happiness that has truly won my heart.
I’m ashamed to say that I actually picked this up at the library thinking it was something else. It wasn’t until I got started that I realised I had the wrong book, but I’m so so glad that I did.
In the first few pages we meet Dora. She’s won a prize in a local raffle and while her husband and his friends are chanting for her to choose the whiskey, she instead chooses a painting; a replica Van Gogh.
In the next chapters we skip back and forth through the lives of Ellis, Dora’s son, and his childhood friend Michael.
“Tin Man” is poetic, it’s sympathetic and it’s beautiful. As we watch 12 year old Ellis and Michael grow as individuals we also watch their relationship blossom through the good and the bad, through the exploratory teenage years into marriage and the years to come. We see them get close to one another and we see them fall apart.
Tackling love, grief and loneliness, it’s clear that Sarah Winman has talent and a beautiful but simplistic way with words. This book is short in length but powerful in message and I’m glad that this is the case; here it’s much more about quality than quantity. The reader is left to think and to understand and anything more would have taken away from this story.
“What is it? asked Ellis. Everything, she said. This and having wine for breakfast and you and me and it’s just everything. It’s us. Knowing that we’re okay and we can be silly too.”
Overall rating: I really felt that this book spoke to me. “Tin Man” is a beautiful story of childhood friends who fall in love. Yes, it’s dreamy and it’s whimsical, but don’t we all need a bit of that once in a while?? 5 stars!