"once in a house on fire" - by andrea ashworth is the best book i have read this year. the book is an autobiographical tale of ashworth's upbringing in manchester. the uniqueness of the book stands in the fact that, despite being a story about neglect and abuse - it is written with child-like candor, a quality that fills every page with enchantment. as you read...especially when ashworth describes her teenage years and her decisive struggle to leave her sad past behind through her giftedness - you find yourself, as a reader, to cheer and hope for her. the final happy ending (ashworth entered oxford and later pursued a career there) is a joy to read about.
"once in a house on fire" achieves the impossible result of describing pain and desperation without ever ceasing to sound deep down full of life. it is an extraordinary book that celebrates the triumph of a young girl over hatred and ugliness - all thanks to the strengh of her inspiring spirit.