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Dear Tosh cover art

Dear Tosh

By: Ninette Hartley
Narrated by: Ninette Hartley
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Summary

Dear Tosh is a memoir and is a mother's story of love, grief and acceptance. 

Graffiti was Tosh's passion, and one slip, while out scouting for a site, cost him his life. For the 10th anniversary of his death, his mother writes him 27 letters, one for each year that he lived. She tells him things she did not have the chance to say when he was alive, talks about his childhood and teenage years, and brings him up to date with what has happened in the family since he left. 

Going back 10 years, reliving the days around the fatal accident, she tells him what that time was like for her. 

©2021 Ninette Hartley (P)2021 Ninette Hartley

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A book which charms and uplifts

I finished listening to Dear Tosh a couple of weeks ago and I am still thinking about it.

There is so much that I like about this book: the cover photograph of Tosh taken by one of his brothers; the clever narrative structure of 27 letters to him marking each year of his life - each unfolding a little more of the story to the reader/listener; the wonderful, heartfelt reading by his mother, Ninette Hartley. Usually, I don't think writers are always the best people to read their books but in this case, Ninette's calm, unsentimental, and un-self-pitying delivery drew me in and I listened to the whole book in one afternoon. By the end, I understood that despite having died 10 years ago, Tosh is still a big part of his family. They involve him in their everyday life but not in a maudlin way and with no awkwardness, it's just normal - and I loved the idea that his nieces make him a Death-day cake! Why don't we all do this?

Ultimately I have the sense that I have been shown a way to experience grief which is unexpectedly, both positive and enriching.