ShortBookandScribes #BlogTour #Extract from Home by Amanda Berriman @MandyBerriman @PenguinRHUK #RandomThingsTours
My second Random Things Tour of the day is for Home by Amanda Berriman and I have a fabulous extract from chapter 2 to share with you. My thanks to Anne Cater for the place on the tour.
Jesika is four and a half.
She lives in a flat with her mother and baby brother and she knows a lot. She knows their flat is high up and the stairs are smelly. She knows she shouldn’t draw on the peeling wallpaper or touch the broken window.
And she knows she loves her mummy and baby brother Toby.
She does not know that their landlord is threatening to evict them and that Toby’s cough is going to get much worse. Or that Paige, her new best friend, has a secret that will
explode their world.
Home is narrated by 4 year old Jesika, whose voice is incredibly recognisable and
remarkably compelling. The author, Amanda Berriman, is a primary school teacher and has captured the voice of a young child perfectly. Home is for those who love powerful, challenging novels that force us to question the world around us.
Perfect for fans of Kit de Waal’s My Name is Leon, John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Emma O’Donoghue’s Room.
Or support your high street with Hive.
WE GET TO the doctors and Mummy presses buttons on the machine inside the door but something’s not working so we go and see the man ahind the desk and Mummy tells him Toby’s name and the man says, ‘I’m sorry but you’ve missed your appointment.’
Mummy says, ‘But we’re only a few minutes late!’
The man shakes his head and says, ‘Your appointment was twenty minutes ago. I’m sorry but we can’t hold appointments for more than ten minutes.’
Mummy says, ‘But that’s ridiculous! You can’t just cancel my appointment! We never get seen on time anyway!’
The man taps a piece of paper on the wall next to him with his pen and he says, ‘We’re trialling a zero- tolerance policy to improve on waiting times and to cut down on the number of missed appointments each month.’
Toby presses himself against his buggy straps and shouts, ‘Out! Out!’ and the shouting makes him cough and cough.
I say, ‘Mummy, Toby’s coughing,’ but Mummy’s still talking to the man and the man says, ‘How long has he had the cough?’ and Mummy says, ‘About two weeks,’ and I know that’s for ages.
The man says, ‘OK, I can re- book the appointment for the morning. I’ve got appointments at . . .’
Mummy says, ‘And what do I do in the meantime? I really need him checked over today.’
Toby’s still coughing and his face is red like a tomato. I try to reach round Toby’s back to rub his cough away but he pushes my hand away and he shouts, ‘Out!’ and then coughs some more and I don’t know why he won’t let me rub his cough better.
The man says, ‘Have you tried putting him in the shower twice a day, for the steam?’
I say, ‘What’s a shower, Mummy?’
Mummy says, ‘It’s a . . .’ She shakes her head fast. ‘We haven’t got one.’ She turns back to the man and says, ‘We’ve only got a bath and that’s if the hot water’s working.’
I say, ‘And it’s got a leaky crack in it.’
Toby shouts, ‘Out! Out! Out!’ and Mummy bends down and undoes Toby’s straps and lifts him out and bounces him and rubs his back and at last Toby stops coughing. Mummy’s magic rub is the best.
The man says, ‘Also, keep your house well ventilated, especially the room he sleeps in.’
I say, ‘What does ventilated mean?’
Mummy says, ‘It means we have to open our windows . . .’
I make my eyes wide at the man and I say, ‘We’re not ever never allowed to open our windows or even touch them!’
Mummy frowns and blows out a breath and says, ‘Just the broken one in the living room, Jesika. And I do open the windows when I can.’
I didn’t know Mummy opened our windows. I’ve never seen them open.
I say, ‘When do you open the windows, Mummy?’
Now Mummy is coughing and she puts Toby on his feet and Toby stretches his arms to Mummy and says, ‘Up!’ and Mummy says, ‘Jesika, take Toby to play with the Lego, will you?’
But Toby stretches his hands right up and grabs at Mummy’s leg and shouts, ‘Up! Up!’ so Mummy picks him back up and bounces him and rubs his back.
The man says, ‘And get him out in the fresh air as much as possible. Avoid anywhere that’s damp and don’t smoke in the same room.’
Mummy’s lips are pressed together tight so I can’t actually see them. I press my lips tight too and touch my finger to my mouth to see if I’ve also hided my lips away and I can’t feel them at all but I can feel my teeth through my skin.
Mummy says, ‘We live in a smoke- free home. I don’t smoke.’
I giggle and say, ‘That’s silly! Mummies don’t smoke. Only fires make smoke.’
Mummy wrinkles up her forehead at me. But that’s right, isn’t it? Smoke doesn’t come out of people ! I look at Mummy and then I look at the man but they’re not laughing. I think Mummy’s too busy pushing Toby’s hand away from her dangly earring and now Toby’s giggling cos he thinks Mummy’s playing a game with him.
Mummy says, ‘I really want someone to check him over today.’
The man says, ‘I’m sorry, but there are no routine appointments left for today. Obviously, if you become worried or your son becomes distressed, you can phone up for an emergency appointment at any time.’
Mummy says, ‘I am worried, right now ! And he is distressed, right now !’
Toby claps his hands and reaches for Mummy’s earring and he’s still giggling and I say, ‘What does distressed mean, Mummy?’
Mummy spins round and her eyes are scary- wide. ‘Jesika, will you just go and play with the toys. NOW!’
I step backwards away from Mummy’s scary, shouty face and my back bumps against Toby’s buggy and it falls over backwards and lands on the washing bags. Mummy shouts, ‘Oh, for God’s SAKE!’ And she’s pushing past me and picking up the buggy and fighting with the bags with the hand that’s not holding Toby and Toby’s head is dangling right down and now he’s crying, not giggling, and my eyes are stingy and I say, ‘Sorry, Mummy, sorry!’
Mummy turns the buggy round so the handles are against the wall and she crouches down, still holding Toby, but he’s the right way up now, and she wobbles and has to put her hand out onto Toby’s buggy cos she almost falls over and she says, ‘Just go and
play with the Lego, please. That would really help me.’
I do want to help Mummy so I walk over to the Lego table. There’s a girl already sitting on my fayvrit green chair. I sit on the blue chair. I don’t want to play Lego. I want to cuddle with Mummy.
The girl on the green chair holds out a red brick and says, ‘Here you go,’ and a lady next to her says, ‘That’s so kind, Leila. Are you trying to cheer the little girl up?’ The girl called Leila nods and smiles and she puts the red brick down in front of me and then she gives me a blue one and a green one and a black one and a yellow one and it’s making a big pile so I stick them together but I don’t know what I’m making. I don’t want to make a princess tower or a rocket. Leila gives me another brick. Oh! It’s got eyes on it! Now I know what to do! I build lots of bricks up tall and tall and put the brick with the eyes right on top and it’s not a princess tower or a rocket, it’s a giraffe!
I shout to Mummy, ‘Look, Mummy, I made a giraffe!’ but she doesn’t look. She’s talking to a lady ahind the table now. I don’t know where the man’s gone.
Leila’s Mummy says, ‘That’s a very nice giraffe.’
I say, ‘I’m not saying it to you,’ and I hide my face and turn away from her and I pretend my giraffe is walking next to a lake, cos there’s a bit in the middle of the Lego table where all the bricks are that’s just like a lake. I tell my giraffe he has to watch out for the crocodiles that are hiding in the lake cos they’re mean and snappy today. Giraffe says he’s hungry so I pick out lots of bricks and I make a yellow banana tree and a red strawberry tree and a blue water tree, so he can have a drink, and a green leaf tree. Giraffe walks atween all the trees and nibbles each one but he likes the green one best of all cos giraffes like eating leaves. He eats up all the leaves and I have to make him another green tree cos he’s so hungry.
‘Jesika, come on, we have to go!’
I look over and Mummy’s waving her hand at me to tell me to hurry up and come to where she is but I have to finish up making the green leaf tree or Giraffe will be hungry. Giraffe says his green leaves are delicious.
Mummy’s right next to me and she grabs my hand and pulls hard and Giraffe falls onto the floor and breaks into a million-thousand pieces and I shout, ‘Mummy, Giraffe! Giraffe’s all
broken!’ But Mummy’s pulling and pulling and now we’re at Toby’s buggy and Toby is crying and pushing himself against his buggy straps and Mummy’s rushing us through the door to outside and I’m crying and trying to go back cos I have to fix Giraffe and it’s not fair.
Mummy’s voice is loud in my ears and her face is like a scary monster pushed up close to mine. I stop crying and stop pulling Mummy’s hand. I didn’t know Mummy could make her face like a monster. I don’t like it.
Mummy covers her face with her hands and when she takes them away again the monster’s not there any more. She stands up and blows out a breath and says, ‘Hand on the buggy, Jesika.’ And I hold the buggy and we’re whizzing and whizzing all the way up
the busy street. I hope someone else fixes poor Giraffe.
Amanda was born in Germany and grew up in Edinburgh, reading books, playing music,
writing stories and climbing hills. She works as a primary school teacher and lives on the edge of the Peak District with her husband, two children and two dogs.