15 Days Without a Head – Dave Cousins

“The front door slams. Mum’s back.
It sounds like a dead body hitting the ground as she dumps her stuff in the hall and goes straight to the kitchen. I hear the thud of a bottle on the table, the crack of the cap, then the slow glug as liquid spills into a glass.”

Laurence knows his mum has a problem, but he does the best he can to make sure life isn’t too bad for him and six year old Jay. today is Tuesday, and his mum is in her happy hour, that one hour of good drunk when she will humour Jay and not shout at Laurence, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? With an unreliable mother, a brother who thinks he’s a dog and a nosey neighbour, Jay has a lot of his plate before his mum disappears. For the next fifteen days Laurence will have to tell more lies than ever, keep Jay safe and dress up as a woman to fool Nosey Nelly, but can he do it all and ensure that him and his brother are kept out of care?
***
I’d heard fantastic things about 15 Days before I’d started reading and knew it was one I would have to get round to quickly. Thankfully when it arrived on my doorstep just a few weeks ago I had just the right time slot to fit it in and man, I’m so happy I’ve got another Dave Cousins’  book waiting for me on my bookshelf. 
The story isn’t a happy one, Laurence has a lot on his plate with Jay and his mother. Factor in Nosey Nelly, a head of year who isn’t stupid and a childminder who is concerned and Laurence needs to come up wiht answers fast. There was a lot in 15 Days that could have turned it into a very different book, but with Dave Cousins’ fantastic writing capabilities and his incredible sense of humour, the book quickly became a light hearted read with serious undertones. I really enjoyed the way it was written and how humour was used to ensure the reader that everything would be ok. I was certain it would be but there were many times when the future looked bleak. 
I really enjoyed how the chapters were split up into days and how the days were re-written to reflect the story with Tuesday becoming Doomsday and Sunday; Slumday it added an element of fun to the scary goings-on that Laurence was facing and I really liked what it brought to the story. 
The characters were brilliant and I don’t think anyone could meet Jay and not love him. They all brought something to the table in 15 days and although she was a bit of a waste of space I think I actually did like their mother, she just needed help. I thought Laurence was really mature about a lot of things although he probably could have trusted some characters a little bit more than he did. I believe Nosey Nelly was just being nosey but Mr Buchan and Angie really cared for the boys I think and would have helped do the right thing by them. I’m so glad he did trust Mina though and I loved Mina’s character so much, she was there for him when he needed her the most. 
I loved the way Dave Cousin’s tackles the issues present in 15 Days and reading it has made me want to follow anything he writes in future. I would definitely prompt readers to get hold of a copy of this book if they haven’t already.
15 Days Without a Head was published in January 2012 by Oxford University Press. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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