Virginia Macgregor (Sphere) 2014, 388pp, RRP $29.99
Milo is a 9-year old boy with Retinitis Pigmentosa. His vision is gradually failing; he can only see through a diminishing pinhole and one day he will be blind. Milo’s whole world disintegrates when he catches his father with The Tart, and then his beloved Gran, 92-years old and difficult to care for, is sent to a nursing home.
One by one, all the adults in Milo’s life let him down, even Tripi, the big-hearted Syrian refugee who cooks at Gran’s nursing home. Eventually, all Milo has left is his pet pig, Hamlet, and a giant problem: the sinister Nurse Thornhill who runs Gran’s nursing home is treating the patients abysmally and Gran is going downhill fast. The adults turn a blind eye to what is going on, but Milo won’t and he sets about making things right.
What Milo Saw is about family, bravery and protecting and nurturing vulnerable people. First-time author, Virginia Macgregor, deftly turns Milo’s disability into a superpower – Milo can see what full-sighted people can’t (or won’t) see because he is focussed on detail, and this is where the majority of the novel’s charm lies:
Milo wasn’t sure what the big deal was. It was easy: you just looked for the thing that you thought no one else would notice. He played the spotting game with Gran all the time: they’d stare out her window in the attic and look out onto the street and try to notice things that the other person hadn’t. It was part of the training Gran did with him to help with his eyes, like the listening game.
It is easy to fall in love with Milo, a gentle, courageous boy who fights for justice and risks everything for the people he loves. What Milo Saw is impossible to put down and destined to be the book you tell all your friends to read. So curl up in your favourite chair, a cup of Milo within reach and a warm pet snuggling on your lap, and enjoy the delightful Milo.
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