If Melody hadn't run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn't be left with a condition that makes her sing when she's nervous. And she definitely wouldn't have belted out the Arctic Monkeys' 'I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor' in assembly at her son's school.
If Dev hadn't taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn't have happened. He wouldn't have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life's heart.
But if they hadn't seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be 'Us'.
I'd like to thank Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and Headline for my copy of The Songs of Us to review which I received via NetGalley.
I really didn't know quite what to expect from Emma Cooper's debut novel The Songs of Us, the concept of someone singing when they're nervous or anxious sounded quirky to say the least. So to say I was unprepared for the wave of emotions that I experienced whilst reading this poignant story is a complete understatement - I think I went through every emotion imaginable alongside the characters from cringeworthy embarrassment to heartbreaking sadness.
Melody, Flynn and Rose were all characters you couldn't help but warm to and want the best for them especially when they were at their most vulnerable. I've never been a parent myself but I couldn't help but imagine what it must be like for her in her situation, you could really feel her pain, anger, frustrations as she struggles to cope with everything being thrown at them. She didn't set out to be a single parent, it was a job that she was supposed to be sharing with her loving husband Dev, so it's no wonder that she's convinced that he must be dead as surely he would have come back to them all if he was still alive.
Flynn and Rose in particular have had to endure more in their short lifetime than they should have done, their childhood has been spent worrying about both parents - the mum who struggles under extreme stress and pressure and the father who disappeared without a trace. The storyline with Rose literally broke my heart, I could understand her frustrations and totally felt her pain - it's a painful topic that is all too common a coping mechanism for many people. As for Flynn's situation he's already been through so much in his young life, and has the scars as a constant reminder, so it's little wonder that he acts the way he does as he tries to cope with everything that is being thrown at him and his family.
There were so many comic genius moments in the writing as the bizarre scenarios played out and the music literally took over Melody's mind and body, often at the most inappropriate moments despite her best attempts to try and curb the impulses. The occasional snigger might have escaped whilst reading and I might have even found myself humming along at times with Melody! It's no wonder that Flynn and Rose try to stop her in her tracks but sadly it's often too late as once the music starts, there's no stopping her even if the lyrics don't always match what she's singing in her head.
The Songs of Us was simply the perfect book for me to read this week. At first I didn't think I would be in the right headspace for what I thought was going to be an emotional read, which it is, but it's also very uplifting at the same time. If this is the standard of Emma Cooper's writing, I look forward to reading more from her in the very near future.