Her Giant Octopus Moment Paperback – 10 May 2012
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Readable, poignant . . . the author's skill is to woo the reader into empathising with conflicting viewpoints (The Sunday Times)
'Thought-provoking' ***** (Woman's Own)
A delight to read, the characters pull at your heartstrings (Candis)
This is both a comic and poignant read told via quirky prose, and is impossible to put down (Image)
Sweet and sad and funny and thought-provoking (U magazine)
An endearing child-heroine and a controversial moral question make HER GIANT OCTOPUS MOMENT a must-read (Good Housekeeping)
Poignant novel about parenthood (Woman & Home)
Funny and poignant (Choice)
A poignant, at times funny, at times saddening book about morals and motherhood (Tatler Ireland)
Brilliant new novel . . . impressively plausible and realistic . . . truly heartbreaking and yet life-affirming at the same time. A thoroughly enjoyable and light-hearted, engaging read. (welovethisbook.com)
A gripping, heart-rendering story. The characters are portrayed skilfully, especially Scout, who is a wonderful child . . . An extremely exciting and emotional read. (New Books)
The sympathetic understanding of her characters, the even-handed exposition of different types of mothering and the beauty of her crystal-clear prose all come together to make this a must read. (Red)
Vivid storytelling . . . A delicately told tale of an unconventional childhood (Oxford Times)
Funny and poignant exploration of motherhood and surrogacySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a lovely, touching read, with moments of emotional intensity and humour, and some great characters. Scout is the best by far, she is so lovely, such a great girl; intelligent, inquisitive, caring, and very strong. She is insightful about many things. I really liked Scout straight away, and felt so sad for her sometimes, for all the time she is on her own. She ponders what makes a home, is fascinated by and curious about learning things. One of the most moving scenes for me is when Scout is arranging her dolls house, the minute details she pays attention to. Her mother Joanie is flawed but by no means heartless. She adores Scout, but selfishly she is glad `for a child who was resourceful, low-maintenance, and quick on the uptake.', because this allows Joanie to live the unorthodox lifestyle she does.
The story explores a little beyond the main characters, to touch briefly at times on the thoughts of the peripheral players involved here; the Beechams themselves, with Elisabetta feeling `loss was a determined companion. It hunkered down for the long haul.Read more ›
Eleven years later, an embryologist recognises Joanie and sees her with Scout, her 10 year old daughter. It transpires that Joanie, who is given to impulsive behaviour, decided that she did not want to give up the baby she was carrying and deceived both the clinic and the Beachams into thinking she had lost the baby. As Social Services and the authorities become involved, and after receiving a Location Order, Joanie and Scout go on the run. "Her Giant Octopus Moment" weaves together the experiences of everybody involved - the surrogate,Joanie; the couple who are/were depending on her,Ned and Elisabetta; people they met along the way; the authorities from Social Services to the Judge in the Family Court and, of course, the child herself, Scout.
For all her faults Joanie is a likeable character who adores her daughter although she has few parenting skills and no stability in her life. Scout is an intelligent,thoughtful and inquisitive wee girl who knows her Mother has her faults but who loves her anyway. I'll not spoil the story by giving away the ending but "Her Giant Octopus Moment" is one of the most moving, thought provoking and captivating books I've read in a while.
From the blurb I thought this was going to be more of an issue-led/angst-ridden story along the lines of Jodi Picoult etc, but I was wrong. Although there is a court scene at the end, the similarity stops there as this is a much lighter read, despite the serious nature of the 'crime' Joanie has committed. It put me in mind of Catherine O'Flynn and Kate Atkinson at times, particularly with respect to the earnest-but-adorable heroine Scout and the cast of eccentric and engaging characters she meets as she tries to fill the hours while her mother is at work or out on dates. I wanted to slap the reckless/feckless Joanie at times, but ultimately Kay Langdale succeeded in making me feel some sympathy for her.
This is the first of Kay Langdale's books I've read, and now I fully intend to check out the others.
Scout unsurprisingly craves order and consistency. A ferociously bright, hugely likeable character, she creates her own rules, her own boundaries. When her mother settles for a while in one place, Scout adores the structure and security of school. This makes it all the more painful for her when Joanie, fearing discovery, abruptly uproots her once again. The reader feels the pain twice - not only is Scout hurting, but her mother is so extraordinary self-centred that she has no flicker of concern for the ten-year old.
On the run, they flit from an inner-city high-rise, via seaside B&B, to a Norfolk camp of farm workers. Joanie promises that Scout will not miss out on school but will benefit from "home-learning". Scout mishears this and with humourous, accidental accuracy refers to it as "own learning". In each place, Scout meets local characters who Kay Langdale brings to life with considerable skill. As a reader, it's impossible to forget the elderly former butler isolated in his flat and mocked by the local kids. Or the nasty, pursed-lipped B&B owner.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I raced my way through this book, really enjoying the company of Joanie and Scout. I found the relationships Scout sought out with older people touching. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Katie Abbotts
I could not put this book down. The characters are handled with sensitivity and insight. In my professional experience the ending is a realistic possibility.Published 14 months ago by MarjB
Really enjoyed reading this book. It is well written and you feel that you really get to know the characters. Read morePublished on 8 Jun. 2014 by Kimkip
This is somewhere between a summer beach read and something a bit more intellectually stimulating. What is outstanding, is that the author makes all the characters captivating,... Read morePublished on 27 Mar. 2014 by Zannie
Poignant and insightful journey of mothers desire to do her best for her child without skills of mothering or the ability to put her child's needs before her own.Published on 25 Aug. 2013 by Natalie
This book was a surprise-well written,touching without being soppy,with wonderful characters,and a clever storyline.
Much better than I had expected. Read more
So many sides to this powerful story,you will fall in love with the little girl who is so strong,sympathy will be felt forall the main characters,so well researched ,do you self a... Read morePublished on 18 May 2013 by Susan Burns
A very interesting and thought-provoking topic. Well written with excellent characterisation. Light reading but well worth it. Highly recommended. Enjoy!Published on 23 Jan. 2013 by Stomrad
This is a story about surrogacy. It is a funny and sad story. Scout, the young girl that the story is built around is a lovely sweet child that you cant fail to like. Read morePublished on 26 Sept. 2012 by sue book worm