Title: Everyday Magic
Author: Charlie Laidlaw
Published on: 26th May 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Carole Gunn leads an unfulfilled life and knows it. Her husband of many years may or may not be in New York on ‘official work’. To make things worse, Granny is dead. Granny is their deaf geriatric cat… The GPS lady with a husky voice and a young Spanish lover seems to be directing Carole to places which hold special significance for her. In the process of trying to find herself, Carole learns a lot about her past and how it has shaped who she’s become today.
I am a huge fan of Charlie’s books. Charlie Laidlaw writes stories that touches a reader’s soul. Heart-warming and makes you reflect on the life you have lived/been living so far. I saw a lot in common with our protagonist Carole. There comes a time in our lives when we pause from the hustle-bustle of our daily live and reflect on the things that brought us to where we are right now. The choices we made, the people we let go off and the memories we are holding on to, though they no longer serve any purpose…
Everyday Magic starts with Carole dropping her daughter Iona to a piano class in Edinburgh. Iona doesn’t understand why her mother choose a piano class far from their place – and the piano teacher hardly speaks any English and it is better not to discuss how ‘good’ his piano sessions are! Carole takes the help of the GPS lady with a husky voice and revisits the places that held special moments in the past.
Carole wonders if the GPS lady is a cigarette smoker and is currently sleeping beside her young Spanish lover. Maybe, she’s planning a trip to the Caribbean Islands… or, has to pay a visit to the local supermarket… Carole meets/sees people who once held some significance in her past (when she was a student at the uni).
Bits of humor adds a dash of charm to the story. As the story began, we see Carole sending an email to her mum – Granny is dead. Her mum replies saying ‘I hope you don’t expect me to cry at the funeral.’ Granny died and yet nobody’s bothered? Carole’s husband Ray (who is currently in New York on official business) emails saying “It’s just a dead cat!”
Iona is disgusted by the fact Granny’s stored in the freezer. She pushes away dinner when she realizes the chips and kebabs came out of the same place where Granny’s currently resting in… deep freeze. She’s worried she might catch ‘dead cat disease’ from the ‘dead cat juice’.
Carole embarks on a journey; she reminisces the times she spent with her flat-mates, her first love and looking after her sick child. This story makes you giggle, smile and cry. It was heart-wrenching to read Carole’s struggles as a mother (when Iona fell sick) and as a sister (something from her past.) We also have some funny moments – Iona’s famous ‘Yes/No’ birthday special game, and of course, Granny peeing on Carole’s mum’s favorite designer clothes. Ahem.
As the story ends, we see Carole in a new ‘avatar’. She’s finally let go of her past and is looking forward to starting, or rather, restarting her life.
Everyday Magic is a heart-warming and thought-provoking story. Be it the storytelling or the setting or the characters, Charlie Laidlaw is the best! I highly recommend you to read Everyday Magic by Charlie Laidlaw.