Hannah Green And Her Unfeasibly Mundane Existence by Michael Marshall Smith (book review).

I need a hero. I’m holding out for a hero.’ With apologies to Jim Steinman and Bonnie Tyler you may just need Hannah Green.

Apparently unphased by the changes in her life, which are significant and possibly dramatic, Hannah steps up to be the hero or as we trendily say being the change you want to see in others.

Life has become a shadow of its previous happy self as Hannah’s mother walked out some months ago. It continues in more or less the same way but has become a series of mundane events. Her grandfather visits and tuts over her science homework and her trendy and tattooed Aunt Zoe, Dad’s younger sister visits, offering much but delivering nothing.

The kitchen table goes all big. The dishwasher sounds too loud’ and her screenwriter father cannot write himself out of his increasingly pale version of existence. When he suggests she goes to stay with her Grandad for a while, she knows that whilst will miss him, she must grasp at a chance of adventure and anything for a change.

Finding out your Grandad isn’t necessarily who you think he is and is friends with the Devil himself is a big learning curve. Taking her experience in her stride, Hannah is a role model for us all and if anyone can heal the universe I’d put my faith in her.

The Devil has come out to find out what is wrong with the world and, despite the evil and horror of modern life, he’s not getting served the power this creates. He seeks out the engineer responsible for the machine which is supposed to channel it. In doing so, he sets off a chain of events involving Hannah and her Grandad. It’s time to save the world.

This is a great read with plenty of little ‘moments’ where we can ‘get’ Hannah. Her situation in a very broken home is something we can relate to and empathise with. The comedy of the piece also shines through with the supporting characters, including the invisible talking mushroom being very much part of its enduring charm. Set in contemporary America, this is just a step away from any kid’s normal life with the everyday mundanity set against the series of extraordinary events. Perfect then for escaping from our own lives and jumping into an adventure we could be part of if reality shifted ever so slightly.

This is a book to savour. There’s even sympathy for the Devil. Hannah’s parents are not totally side-lined neither, as often happens in books where kids must battle through while deprived of their parents.

I really did enjoy this escapade and its ways, amazing to ponder on how some people have these wonderful ideas in their brains trying to jump out. I’m wondering also if this might become a continuing series as I think Hannah is the girl to put the world to rights.

Sue Davies

September 2017

(pub: HarperVoyager. 364 page hardback. Price: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-00823-791-2)

check out website: http://harpervoyagerbooks.co.uk/

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