‘We Are Giants’ is a heart warming debut from Amber Lee Dodd about love, family and friendship and how we learn to cope in a world we can’t always understand. Sydney’s life is turned upside down when a change in circumstances means she is forced to leave her home, friends and move away. Dealing with this would be difficult enough for anyone but the whole family is still coming to terms with the loss of Sydney’s Dad. Leaving behind all the memories that are wrapped up in their home and having to face the unknown is a huge upheaval for the whole family.
What makes this book quite unique is that Sydney’s Mum Amy has dwarfism, it is unusual to see main characters in a book who have a disability but this is not the focus of the story. It was refreshing to see such a diverse family, as readers we all look for characters who we can identify with and imagine growing up never finding a book which didn’t have a character who reflected who you are. We do see the prejudice and ignorance that they face and the practical challenges of day to day life for Amy, but she is such a strong character her disability doesn’t define who she is. The interesting part is that Sydney’s grief seems inextricably linked to staying small and maintaining her connection with her Dad who also had dwarfism. Her fear of growing up is compounded by her belief that it will take her further away from him and that her memories will fade. I felt a real emotional response to the struggle that the whole family had in tackling their grief and the different coping strategies they used. However the situation is handled in a sensitive way and the story is incredibly uplifting as you see them learning how to live again and moving on to a new life.
The story raises a number of issues which children reading it will be able to identify with the worries of growing up, the fear of not fitting in, friendship problems and the emotions that are sometimes difficult to understand. I found myself wrapped up in the story and read it in one sitting. It is a book that will keep you turning the pages wanting more and willing the family to a happier place. For me I felt like I was searching for the light at the end of the tunnel and there is a feeling of hope throughout despite the sorrow that the family are experiencing. It is a truthful and honest insight into family life, which I really enjoyed reading. A truly thoughtful and moving read.
Thank you to Quercus for sending me a copy of this book to review.