This book was written from the heart by an author who, herself, has a severely disabled child and similarly, made the decision to move to France. While a lot of the narrative is not autobiographical, it also didn't feel so much like a novel. The emotions and reactions were too true, too heartfelt to be simply fiction and it wasn't until I realised the author's history that I could make sense of it.
I was blown away but the brutal honesty of trying to adjust your life to the shock and implications of raising a child who had absolutely no hope of living an independent life, never to walk, talk, or feed herself.
Some of the characters were a bit 'off the wall'. Lizzy, the flaky teenager who lives in a storage container in the grounds of the old house, was an extreme example. But you couldn't help but love them. Even Anna's infuriating mother, who reassuringly announces that "even a slug can learn". Only Tobias, Anna's husband, really annoyed me. I could understand that he wanted to shut himself off from reality, but to move to a broken down old house and not raise a hammer to do any repairs, was beyond comprehension.
This was an interesting mix of misery memoir and travel book, well balanced and wryly humorous.
It's an excellent book club choice; our book club was split in its reactions to the situation and it made for an enthusiastic discussion.
Search for the interview published in The Telegraph for the true inside story and photographs of the family.