Cover Image: Keeping Mum

Keeping Mum

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Member Reviews

I received a copy of the book from Netgalley to review. Thank you for the opportunity.
An unusual but sweet story that gives new meaning to the term fatherhood 
A good read.
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A beautiful, poignant tale of love, loss, grief, reconnecting and love between a heartbroken father and son. I loved that the story made me burst out laughing one minute and then wipe a tear away the next. Solid writing for a debut novel.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Danny has lost the love of his life and his son Will has stopped speaking after the death of his mother. I found this book really hard to get into and had to make it as did not finish which I'm always reluctant to do. I didn't take to any of the characters which I think is what made others really connect with the book.
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Keeping Mum is an absolutely beautiful funny uplifting read, I laughed out loud so many times,but the underlying theme is one of grief and sadness.
Danny and his eleven year old son are adrift since the death of Danny’s wife, Danny is struggling financially and since his mother’s death Will has not spoken a word. With his landlord threatening violence if he doesn’t get his rent soon and then Danny losing his job, he applies for every job going with no success. Whilst in the park one day he sees street performers from magicians to musicians earning what looks like a tidy sum. Passing a costume shop he buys a panda outfit as it was scruffy and cheap, planning to be a dancing panda and attract the crowds, one problem he has an innate disability when it comes to rhythm and dance.
Meanwhile Will is being bullied at school and having a dreadful time, whilst in the park he is rescued from the bullies by a panda, not realising it’s his dad he speaks his first word...’thanks’. Danny is now inspired to do better and get closer to Will.
So begins a marvellous journey full of love, friendship and laughter. Travel this journey with them, it is inspiring and uplifting with a depth that as you’re laughing you also feel the pathos.
A wonderful book which I can’t praise enough, and the very last dear author made tears flow, it’s rare for me to really laugh out loud and being a prolific reader I can say had on heart not many books have made me so emotional, bravo.
My thanks to net galley and publisher for the opportunity to review this book honestly.
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Such a lovely, feel good read. I really enjoyed the way in which it was written too. Despite the initial sadness with the storyline, it became uplifting. 

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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This is the story of how single parent Danny finds his way for him and his son, Will, after loosing his wife. It takes place a year after her death when both Danny and Will are still struggling. ⁣
Danny has lost his job and the only source of income and Will still hasn’t spoken a single word since the accident. Will no qualifications, Danny is unable to find work so he decides to try his hand at street preforming. ⁣
Dressed as a panda he starts to dance to draw in the crowds but unfortunately he cannot dance!! He almost gives up then his son speaks to him (not knowing it’s his Dad) and everything seems worth it...⁣
I absolutely adored this book, it made me laugh, cry and left me with a giant smile on my face and it was exactly what I needed. I loved Danny and Will and even the secondary were brilliant. I loved the sarcastic humour between them and would love to see what they get up to in the future.⁣
A must read for anyone who wants to make their heart happy.⁣
Thank you to @𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗲𝘇𝗲_𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸𝘀 and @𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸𝘀 for my #gifted copy in exchange for review.⁣
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What a brilliantly refreshing read! I loved this. If you enjoyed The Lido you will enjoy this, a beautifully poignant yet uplifting read, all about family and the love between a parent and child, as well as loss there is hope. Offbeat and completely original story line, this was a great read.
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This is an uplifting novel, ideal for a bit of escapism on lockdown. 
Danny is a single dad with a son who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother. Financial struggles and a chance encounter lead Danny to don a giant panda costume and try to earn his living in an unexpected way, when confusion ensues.
This is a novel about coming to terms with loss whilst ordinary life carries on regardless, about concealing the truth from those we love and the relief of revealing our true feelings.  There are plenty of comedic characters to offset the grief and loss, and this is ultimately a warm hearted easy read. I understand that plans are being made for a TV adaptation of  ‘Keeping Mum’ and I look forward to seeing it brought to life as it will transfer to the screen very well.
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This was a lovely, sad, sweet book about a man desperate to show his son how much he loves him. The panda suit made me smile, how far we go for the ones we love. 
The writing really drew me into the heart of it. Lovely.
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I love an uplifting read and Keeping Mum is the perfect read if you’re looking for some escapism.

It follows Danny and his son Will, who sadly, after his Mum passed away in a car accident, has stopped talking and is also being bullied in school. Danny is starting to think he’ll never talk again until one day he loses his job and decides to take on a busking job as a dancing panda and slowly there is hope that they can rebuild their lives again.

I did find it a bit slow to get into but once I’d got to know the characters I started to really enjoy it. It will make you emotional, but it also provides a heap load of laughs so I’d recommend if you’re looking for a book to make you giggle!
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This was a really unique, funny but also meaningful story which I want to read all over again! Danny’s son Will hasn’t spoken ever since his mum died in a car accident. Danny is also struggling to pay their rent and has just lost his job as a builder. When he can’t find another job it seems his only option is to join the street performers that he sees regularly in the park and so he becomes a dancing panda. Will starts to befriend the panda unaware that it is in fact his Dad Danny, but he still refuses to talk to his Dad. Will Danny be able to get their life back on track?

I adored the premise of this story - what’s not to love about a Dad dressed in a panda costume trying to make some money to look after his son. There were some truly hilarious moments in the book and I loved that there were some really unusual and interesting characters. Ivan from the building site and Krystal the pole dancer were brilliant and I totally didn’t expect them! But as well as being funny and light hearted, the story looks at some important issues and is ultimately a really moving book. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, it will have you laughing and crying; possibly both at the same time!

Thanks to Orion and Trapeze for a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.
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Really enjoyed this book. Steady paced, great characters, I was absorbed throughout. Will be reading more books by the author in the future!
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Oh my word, what a gloriously funny, poignant and heartwarming read Keeping Mum is! Written by award winning screenwriter and debut author James Gould-Bourn, it’s a compelling page turner of a read that once started is impossible to put down.

Danny Maloney’s life is falling apart. He’s a single parent to eleven year old Will, who hasn’t spoken since the death of his mother in a car crash just over a year ago. As if that isn’t enough, he’s also being pursued for unpaid rent by a dodgy landlord and has now lost his job on a building site. Struggling to find work and desperate for money, Danny does what any father would do. He puts all sense of pride to one side and becomes a dancing panda!

What follows is a story that will have you howling with laughter one second, then reaching for the tissues the next. With a cast of colourful characters that help bring the story alive, this is a book that stole a little piece of my heart. Danny and Will’s grief is palpable, but Keeping Mum isn’t a sad story by any means. It’s the story of a little boy and his dad who somehow need to find their way back to each other.

And maybe, just maybe, a dancing panda will be exactly what they need.

Filled to the brim with humour, this is a beautifully written and uplifting story of love, loss and family. Keeping Mum is as hilarious as it is poignant and I devoured every word of this incredible debut. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss as I turned the final page, not wanting to say goodbye to these characters who I’d grown to love so much.

James Gould-Bourn has written a debut to be proud of and I can’t wait to read more by this talented author in the future.

Highly recommended.
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It’s not often that a book makes me laugh so much that I get tutted at by my non-reader husband for laughing at something I’m reading when he’s trying to watch tv. This book had me in stitches! Although there was a heart-warming poignancy to it, given the main protagonists, Danny and his son Will are both grieving the loss of Will’s mother, the humour practically jumps off the page and whacks you in the face.

The side characters contribute greatly to the story, from the dodgy landlord threatening to kneecap Danny if he doesn’t pay his rent, the slightly intimidating Ukrainian best friend, the other street performers (including a crazy magician) and the feisty exotic dancer Krystal who is initially mean to Danny, but in the end contributes towards helping Danny and Will find their way back to one another.

I found this such a compelling story to read, and found it hard to put down at a time when I was finding it hard to read in lockdown. This was the perfect antidote for me, and definitely revitalised my need to read. As a debut novel, I thought this was excellent and I am really excited to see what James Gould-Bourn does next!
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I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved every moment.
It's a story I read as fast as I could and the plot and the characters are great.
I strongly recommend it.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Danny Mallony and his son Will have lost their wife and mother in a tragic car accident about a year ago. Liz was not only Danny's wife but also his best friend, and together with her death he feels as if he has lost his son as well because Will simply stopped speaking. Then Danny gets himself fired from work and his landlord starts to threaten to harm him and some of his body parts because he's late with the rent. There are no jobs out there for Danny, so it's not a wonder that, in desperation, and with his last money, he purchases a panda suit and becomes a street performer. Dancing panda. The problem is, Danny can't dance. However, it's not the end of the problems because soon Danny is a witness how his son is being bullied. And then Will starts to talk - to the panda.

James Gould - Bourn has created incredible characters, real and authentic and while yes,
sure, they are also a bit clichéd and stereotyped, what with Mark the bully, or Reg the landlord, they work in this book and they are breathing and moving and jumping off the pages. Effortlessly. The background characters were phenomenal - I have never came across such brilliantly written secondaries, and Krystal must have been my favourite. Krystal with her potty mouth that would make any sailor blush, telling things how they are, not beating around the bush, full of glitter and glamour, offending with every word but deep, deep inside she was such a good fairy and I loved her totally. But no matter how much I laughed at their banter and shenanigans, they added tons of depth to the story.
And don't forget Will's new teacher! It's amazing how much attention the author paid to the smallest details, taking care about things and events that we would have probably not spotted. I tell you, this book is perfect. The way the author has dealt with grief and its impact on the affected, the old - new father - son relationship, the challenges life brings is cleverly written, it's sharp and empathetic. I loved what he did with Will - he created a strong, resilient boy who had weaker moments and I felt for him immediately, but he didn't make him a victim that can't stand for himself. Yes, Will was bullied and he suffered but I couldn't stop admire his inner strength and the ability to not take things so much to heart.
And whatever happened, Danny never gave up, and this is what I really liked in him. He kept things going, not wanting Will to discover how bad the situation is. He wasn't afraid of work, and nothing was too strange or weird to Danny, his priority was always his son and he did things in a way he though are right.

The writing style, and the storytelling, were exceptionally good. I loved the banter the author used in his story, and I loved the situational comedy. He has perfectly blended sadness and humour together, let's just think about Ivan and his reactions, Jesus, the moment when they were looking for wood for example had me laughing out loud, and not only because of Ivan and his fears but because of the dialogue between the security people - really, guys, whatever you do, buy this book and thank me later, it's so, so good, it's more than good, it's the best book I've read this year. I'd say, be careful Mike Gayle, there is a new author in town! But back to the writing, that was funny without being sarcastic - because it didn't need to be in that case, and engaging.

The probably only thing that didn't sit with me so much was the title. I don't know but it somehow didn't work, and I'm guessing it was also published as "Bear Necessity"? I must admit I like it much better. Or even "Pandemonium" sounds great to me :) Or "Panda Days".

About the end... I loved what has happened in the pub, it was so unexpected and so karma - wise, ha, it was simply brilliant. However, I have been expecting something more for Danny, been building my hope through the whole story to be honest - am probably reading too many romances. Sigh. Oh well. Maybe there will be something more from the author about Danny in the future.

I truly adored this book, from the start to the end, and I was sad when I've reached the final pages as it's really this kind of book that you don't want to end. I can't remember the last time a book left me feeling so warm inside as "Keeping Mum" did. It was a poignant and also incredibly funny father - son story that had me captivated right from the first page. It touched upon so many important things: grief, hope, friendship, trying to reconnect, trying to keep going no matter what, about second chances. It was absolutely unique story that I'm going to buy in paperback as well to keep re - reading it all the time. Truly, highly recommended!
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A heart warming story about Danny and his son Will and how they are trying to keep their heads above water following the tragic loss of Liz.

Getting to know Danny he is doing all he can to keep a roof over their heads and grieve the loss of his wife. Danny is fast approaching rock bottom and is running out of ideas to make enough money to pay the rent.

After losing his job Danny becomes desperate to find a new job and that is how he eventually learns to start moving on and accidentally unlocks the key to getting Will to speak who has been mute since the accident the year before.

A story of hope, that will lift your spirits as you keep reading and leave your heart soaring with happiness for them as you reach the end. I really enjoyed this book and found that the more I read the more I was routing for Danny,  Will and their unlikely collection of friends.
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Gorgeous read. I have absolutely loved this one. 
I highly recommend this to other readers. I have devoured this in just two hours it has been a great read.
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For a debut novel, Keeping Mum is absolutely amazing. Such a truly wonderful story it had me hooked from the start. 

Danny Malooley is a character that you will instantly fall in love with. He's a hapless man, with his life practically falling around at his feet. Fourteen months ago the centre of his world died in a car crash. His wife Liz, his childhood sweetheart, the mother of his son. When Liz died a part of Will died that day too. 

At the centre of this story is a heartbreaking plotline. A man has lost the love of his life. A son has lost his mother. Neither know how to deal with their grief, and this pushes them apart. Will hasn't spoken since his mother died, and Danny has found this hard. 

However, despite the heartache. This story is uplifting and bloody hilarious. I laughed so much at some of the scrapes Danny got himself into. And, what made this book more charming were the secondary characters that were involved in Danny and Will's life. 

Ivan, Ivana and Yuri are amazing. If there's ever people that you need in your life to pick you up and make you feel good, or just to be there to protect you. It's Ivan and his family. It may not be conventional their way of helping or imparting words of wisdom, but my word they were a light relief. 

Even Reg and his sidekick Dent, who were terrorising poor Danny for rent money. Cue the tying him up and threatening him with a claw hammer. Sounds scary? Yes. But, the way Gould Bourn writes it just makes you smile. 

There are times when you read a book you can just imagine how it would play out as a film. I would love to see Keeping Mum on the big screen. I'd love to see the dancing panda get beat up by the Ukrainians. I'd love to see El Magnifico wearing his dressing gown. I'd love to see The Shark. 

I could sit here all day and tell you about the scenes in this book that had me smiling and chuckling away to myself. But, that would spoil the enjoyment for you. 

Keeping Mum will have you smiling from ear to ear. It's a book that will cheer you up no end!
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Danny and Will have a few problems!

What a lovely, lovely story Keeping Mum is. Before commenting on the narrative, I just need to say how apt the title is as Will elects not to speak after the death of Liz, his Mum, but as important is both Will and Danny's desire to keep Liz's memory alive. They need to Keep Mum. Similarly, the cover has incredible poignancy once the book is read. I can't say too much why as it would spoil the pleasure of the read, but that crumpled note book page is so fitting!

I hadn't quite expected Keeping Mum to be as funny as it is. I rarely laugh aloud when I'm reading but James Gould-Bourn elicited several giggles along the way so that I felt uplifted and heartened as a result. There's a fast pace with unlikely events that feel convincing and absolutely right for Danny's life as it spirals out of control. With street performances, menacing landlords and sleazy dance clubs James Gould-Bourn takes the reader into places and situations they probably wouldn't normally encounter and does so with verve and skill in a hugely entertaining manner.

I loved the cast of characters. Although she's dead, it is Liz who is the catalyst for all the action and readers get a strong sense of who she is and why Danny and Will are as they are. There are those more minor people like the street performers, Mo, Reg and Mr Dent who provide a colourful backdrop, but it is Danny, Will, Krystal and Ivan who are just perfect creations. James Gould-Brown's use of naturalistic dialogue, choice expletives, clear and vivid descriptions and the occasional touch of violence creates a visual and auditory journey that the reader takes alongside Danny in Keeping Mum.

However, although the characters are real and engaging, and the plot funny and entertaining, there is so much more to Keeping Mum than might be imagined and it is this added depth that made the book so appealing to me. The relationship between Danny and Will, their estrangement, their grief and their real underlying love for one another all combine into a touching and affecting read. With themes of bullying, self-worth, friendship, striving for the best and being true to yourself, Keeping Mum is a compelling and poignant tale as well as a diverting and amusing one. There's a fabulous balance in the writing here too so that the narrative feels modern and yet timeless.

I really loved Keeping Mum. The quality of the writing, the depth of theme and the brilliant characterisation all combine into a smashing book that touches the reader and leaves them feeling happy and satisfied. What could be better?
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