Starting the Conversation
This lovely book has been on my TBR list for a while, ever since it’s publishing date back in the last half of 2018. I had it on hold a few times and then forgot to go pick it up (whoops!) so finally I just put it on my wish list and my wish was granted. I’m so very glad it was as No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen is one of my favourites so far this year.
The story of Felix Knutsson an almost thirteen year old and his mom, who at the moment are living out of a Westfalia van on the streets of Vancouver. Through a series of misfortune and mental health problems, Astrid can’t seem to hold down a job for any length of time, creating a cycle of homelessness for her son and her. Enrolled in a new middle school, Felix is reunited with his best friend from years previous and makes a new friend in the process. With the opportunity to be a contestant in the country’s biggest game show, Felix thinks his whole life will turn around.
No Fixed Address is a wonderful story from cover to cover. Susin Nielsen has this incredible ability to find the perfect voice for her stories and this is no exception. The writing is so wonderful, descriptive but also full of dialogue and humour. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about mental health and homelessness in any real way. Having a book like No Fixed Address as a mirror for those among us who are experiencing poverty, mental health struggles, and homelessness is so important, especially for our middle grade children. The middle years are so, so tough and when you compound all the growing and development and self consciousness with struggles such as those faced by Felix, it can be very lonely. No Fixed Address is an important window book as well, to help others realize some of the difficult challenges that some of their peers may be experiencing and to help develop empathy and compassion for the struggles of others. In the past year there have been a few new middle grade and young adult books diving into these topics and hopefully we will see many, many more. The perfect book to start on January 30th #BellLetsTalkDay to start the discussion around mental health.