Oh what a beautiful, uplifting book!!! I really loved it!!! I was up reading it until almost three in the morning! That’s how much I liked it.
After his strange moment with Isobel, Alex decides to go and talk to Jody. Yet, he gets a nasty surprise when he sees the door open and Richard coming out. He thinks he has spent the night there when he sees his wife kissing him. Then he barges into Matt and Clare’s house, shouting at her that she had told him that what there was between Jody and Richard was not serious. Matt gets angry and kicks him out. Poor Alex! I felt so sorry for him.
That afternoon Jody calls, worried about Sam, who seems to be in a catatonic state. When he gets to the house, he learns that the children who he befriended on Minecraft, Olivia, her brother, and his friends have destroyed the Tower of London, who Sam and Alex had worked together to build. Jody tells her that Harry and Olivia are sorry, but apparently Harry’s friends thought that the building was Harry’s and they were just playing a joke on him. Little by little Sam comes out of his shock, but he swears he won’t play Minecraft again.
Life continues with Jody and Alex barely speaking. There is also Dan, who confesses he has been in love with Emma for a long time, but he never dares to tell her. Alex is upset with Emma, and his own problems made him lash out at her. He tells her that she is selfish for leaving without caring for her mother, and she doesn’t even bother to call her now. Then Emma makes a confession. She tells him that while in Thailand, she had a fling with a man who got her pregnant. She had a miscarriage, but it was that which made her see what her mother had gone through when she lost George. She bitterly remembers that at the time she was angry because her mother had promised her to see The Lion King at the cinema, but then George died, and that never happened, so she was angry and resentful, so now after her miscarriage, she feels really ashamed of feeling the way she felt back then. Nobody can blame a child for feeling different, and not seeing things the way an adult sees them.
Something good starts happening. First, as the cafe where Alex takes Sam to is closing down, the barista hints that he could take over, and Sam starts thinking about the possibility. He even asks for Clare’s help. The woman runs a restaurant, and after he babysat for her one weekend, things are back to normal with his friends. The problem is the money, but everybody tells him he can do it.
There is a pretty moment on the game. Sam still refuses to play, and Alex now doesn’t know how to reach to him. The way they managed to bond was through the game, so one night he is visiting, he connects the XBox while Sam is engrossed in a book. Their construction is destroyed, but then characters appear. One is Olivia, and the others her brother and his friend, and then they all work together to rebuild what they destroyed. That draws Sam’s attention, and in the end he is playing with them. It is a change, and from then on Alex realises that he is losing that time with his son to his friends, and he is ready to let go.
Things with Jody start to get better. They finally manage. He confesses what happened with Isobel as Jody has heard someone has seen him and the woman at a café. Then Jody also admits that Richard is not the man she thought he was. He is too full of himself, and the morning when Alex saw him, he simply appeared to offer her a job as her PA, which she refused. What Alex witnessed was her being kind and walking him to the door. This is a turning point, and they think they could try to work on their marriage. Alex also tells her about going to the therapist, which he thinks is helping.
There are several moments that are particularly moving. One of them is when Dan decides to give Emma a surprise for her birthday. The girl has decided to travel to Brazil, so he wants to do something special for her. He gets Alex to take her to a cafe, and when they are there, Dan takes them to a cinema room which the café has. They sit and Dan finally confesses his love for her, and even though she might be thousands of miles away, she will be in his thoughts. Then the filming starts, and it is “The Lion King”, the film that Emma longed to see when her brother died. I think that was a beautiful moment, and naturally, Emma succumbs to Dan’s charms.
The second moment I found lovely was when Sam finally goes to the competition. The night before Alex’s mother had fallen so she was in hospital. Alex rushes to his side, and Jody and Sam had insisted on going with him. Emma also goes. Jody and Alex think that Sam could do the competition the following year, but now his mother needs him, especially as the doctors think she might have had a mini-stroke and that is why she felt dizzy. When they reach the hospital, the doctor tells them that they can take the woman home. She is okay, and what the doctors didn’t know is that the woman had drunk half a bottle of win with a friend that day. That was a funny moment.
Then they get to the house and settle for the night. It is early when Alex is woken up by Emma. She tells him that he has to take Sam to the competition and she will stay with their mum. So Alex, Jody, and Sam rush from Cornwall to London, and thanks to Dan, who manages to delay the start, Sam is able to join the competition. He is still scared of noise and crowds, but he has his headphones to keep the noise away and Sam and Jody reassures them. One of the judges tell the crowd that they have to create an important building of London, and Alex thinks Sam will build the Tower of London.
From where he is sitting with Jody and Dan, he can’t see a thing. Then some more people come to support Alex. Emma arrives with her mother, who claims she doesn’t want to miss this, and then Olivia and her family. When the competition finishes, Sam doesn’t win, but a teenage girl. Yet, the judges say that somebody else should have a special mention. It is Sam. They call him to come to the stage, and even though scared, he does, having his parents behind. Then the judges show the building Sam has created, and this is a beautiful moment. It is the café where he and George went with their mother the day before his death. That place is very special to Alex as he keeps the photo with his brother and the café behind, which was the last photo of his brother. Alex tried to talk to Sam about George many times, but he always thought that he never took it in. Now Sam surprises him by explaining what Alex thought had never got to him. That was so beautiful!!!
In the end Dan finally goes to Brazil with Emma. Jody and Alex kiss for the first time at the airport seeing Dan and Emma off, but they take it slow. He still lives at Dan’s apartment, but he has stayed at home a few times that Christmas. Then Dan surprises him with a present. He has sold his porsche and is going to put the flat on the market, and in his letter he sends a cheque to Alex, enough for him to get the café. That was a really generous thing to do.
I really loved the book. It is one of the most beautiful, uplifting books I have read.