Rae is used to fending for herself, so when her mother dies, she keeps it a secret. The bond Rae forms with her equally quirky neighbor Lettie gives them both a way to deal with being an orphan and and old woman.
“An original and impressively assured debut. A gem of a novel.” —Graeme Simsion, New York Times bestselling author of The Rosie Project
A soaring, heartfelt debut following fifty-five days in the life of ten-year-old Rae, who must look after herself and her dog when her mother disappears.
For as long as Rae can remember, it's been her and Mum, and their dog, Splinter; a small, deliberately unremarkable, family. They have their walks, their cooking routines, their home. Sometimes Mum disappears for a while to clear her head but Rae is okay with this because Mum always comes back.
So, when Rae wakes to Splinter's nose in her face, the back door open, and no Mum, she does as she’s always done and carries on. She tends to the house, goes to school, walks Splinter, and minds her own business—all the while pushing down the truth she isn't ready to face.
That is, until her grumpy, lonely neighbor Lettie—with her own secrets and sadness—falls one night and needs Rae's help. As the two begin to rely on each other, Rae's anxiety intensifies as she wonders what will happen to her when her mother's absence is finally noticed and her fragile world bursts open.
A Million Things transforms a gut-wrenching story of abandonment and what it's like to grow up in a house that doesn't feel safe into an astonishing portrait of resilience, mental health, and the families we make and how they make us in return.
About the Author
Born in Tasmania, Emily Spurr lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her partner, their twins, and a deaf, geriatric cat. Short-listed for the prestigious Victorian Premier's Unpublished Manuscript Prize, A Million Things is her first novel.
BookBrowse Best Debut Winner 2021
"Spurr delivers a haunting account of a young girl grappling with abandonment in this excellent debut...Through Rae's devastating yet hopeful interior dialogue, Spurr delicately illustrates the complexity of loss and isolation." —Publishers Weekly
"A Million Things draws the reader into an intimate world of unforgettable characters and heartfelt expressions of love and grief. This is a great selection for book clubs who are looking for...a genuinely touching read." —BookBrowse
“Swept me into its thrall so immediately that I didn’t realize I’d been holding my breath until I reached the end...Fresh and slim, this novel pierces like a bullet and soothes like a psalm.” —Amy Jo Burns, author of Shiner
“Poignant, uplifting and beautifully written.” —Catherine Jinks
“Spurr deftly slides into Rae’s 10-year-old consciousness, expertly balancing the innocence and maturity of a child grown up too soon.” —Booklist