By this point, I have completely abandoned my mission to clear books off my TBR, I managed four out of the ten, then new books appeared on my Kindle and I dived straight in and then I bought more new books…..we can all relate.
One of my pre-orders was Freckles by Cecelia Ahern, I always pre-order Cecelia Ahern’s books, I’ve said this many times, I find her books incredibly uplifting and warm. They make me smile and who doesn’t need that in life.
Freckles is about Allegra Bird, a traffic warden, her beat is Malahide. She’s had an unconventional upbringing, she’s never met her mother, she’s been brought up by her loving but eccentric father on Valentia Island.
Allegra gets the nickname Freckles at boarding school on account of Freckles on her arm and it sticks.
When Allegra repeatedly tickets a yellow Ferrari, an angry confrontation with the owner, Rooster/Tristan, leads her on a mission.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.
Rooster/Tristan tells Allegra that if she’s the average of the five people she spends the most time with, they must be losers because she is a loser, it cuts her deeply and she can’t stop thinking about the insult.
Allegra starts thinking about the five people she spends the most time with. Having turned her life upside down to move to Malahide (already on a mission, I won’t say what because, spoilers) Allegra finds she no longer has five people.
Allegra becomes fixated on finding her five. Five people who can influence her, shape her life and determine her future.
It’s fair to say, I didn’t get into Freckles immediately, it took me a few chapters and it took me while to connect with Allegra but that’s kind of the point. Allegra is a little strange, she becomes obsessed with things like connecting the freckles on her arm to create constellations, like trying to find her five people and rigidly sticking to the rules of parking enforcement to the point where she tickets a man who’s stopped to help an elderly woman who has fallen.
Allegra sees the world in black and white, she needs to follow her daily routine to the minute, she feels thrown if even the tiniest detail is off. Allegra talks about struggling to understand people; without it ever being said, Allegra has undiagnosed Autism.
That is a stroke of genius.
That is what made Allegra so believable. It is so common for autism to go undiagnosed in girls and women; putting it bluntly girls are better at masking and mimicking, girls are better at picking up on how to act, girls are better at seeing social cues and going with it. Allegra did all of this.
In early chapters, I thought she was rude, a little blunt and then I learnt what her ‘quirks’ were and started to understand how her mind worked a little more. People who barely knew her called her odd and thought she was strange, in reality they hadn’t even tried to get to know her let alone accept her and love her, quirks and all. That’s probably something that rings true in society in general.
I loved Allegra’s brutal honesty; I too would assume the dude driving the bright yellow Ferrari who couldn’t be arsed paying for parking was a posing wanker. I liked that it took me time to understand her and like her; by the end of the book, I adored her as did those who were actually her five people.
It’s a Cecelia Ahern book so obviously there is a romantic element in there, but it isn’t the driving force of the plot, in fact I’d say this part of the story was a little underdeveloped and more could have been made of it.
After I’d finished reading, part of me thought, “well her five seem to have come out of nowhere and are bit parts”, but again that’s the bloody point. Allegra’s hell bent on ensuring her five are all influential people who she doesn’t actually know, she’s that focussed on her mission that she doesn’t realise her five are actually already there and she gives them as much as they give her.
The ending is beautiful, a reminder not to overlook the people really matter and who really care about you – as a reader you can’t help but end this book happy and grinning.
Is Freckles my favourite Cecelia Ahern book? No. I’d still say Where Rainbows End takes the top spot. I enjoyed, Allegra grew on me, I wanted her to find her five people, I wanted her to see how she was loved, who mattered and who her real friends were.
Another heart-warming read that will leave you smiling.
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