Written by: David M. Barnett
Published by: Trapeze
“For elderly churchwarden Arthur Calderbank, there’s no place like home. His home just so happens to be a graveyard.
He keeps himself to himself, gets on with his job, and visits his wife everyday for a chat. When one day he finds someone else has been to see his wife – and has left flowers on her grave – he is determined to solve the mystery of who and why. He receives unlikely help from a group of teenage girls as he searches for answers, and soon learns that there is more to life than being surrounded by death.
Set during the 90s, when we were all just common people believing things could only get better, this is an uplifting story about the power of a little kindness, friendship and community.”
I rarely pre-order books. Look I have no idea of my finances from one day to the next , never mind if I’ll have £3.99 in my current account in six months time.
But I pre-ordered Things Can Only Get Better on Kindle and on Audible.
Purely on the basis that David M Barnett’s last two books, Calling Major Tom and the Growing Pains of Jennifer Ebert are among my all time favourites.
The wait has been agonising.
Was it worth it?
Things Can Only Get Better is his best book to date.
Barnett is the Stephen King of poignant.
His books, and this one in particular have an air of sadness and melancholy. Based in everyday experiences and emotions that the reader can fully understand and have experienced themselves. Barnett’s writing feels real. There is no better for way for me to describe it.
This sadness and melancholy is tempered with real laugh out loud humour and maybe more importantly and certainly more unusual for the books I usually read; Hope.
No other author I have ever read conveys as much beauty in regards to human relationships as Barnett.
He makes you ache for his characters, he makes you fall in love with them and really care about the events they find themselves in.
Set in the 90’s, the nostalgia for the decade I spent as a teenager, after reading this is palpable. I want to buy the clothes I had, I want to listen to the music I listened to and watch the TV watched. If my wife is reading this, I definitely do not want to date the girls I dated. Barnett took me back wholesale to the 90’s with this with his subtle weaving of pop culture references throughout the book allowing you to piece together exactly when it’s set, like a trivia nerds dream jigsaw puzzle.
That said, it’s a book very much rooted in the Britain of today and the lessons that can be learned are 100 percent relevant right now. I wish I could airdrop a copy of this book into every household before the general election.
It has it’s own soundtrack. No really. David M. Barnett compiled on one Spotify just for this novel, but even without it the book has its own track listing that plays in your head while you read it.
Things Can Only Get Better is a love story, its a mystery novel; it contains heartbreaking and completely unexpected war stories. It’s a beautiful, beautiful book about redemption and second chances. It made me laugh, it made me genuinely cry sitting in traffic, but mostly it made me impatient for the authors next book. If you see a title with David M. Barnett on the cover? Buy it you are in for a treat.
Things Can Only Get Better is available in Paperback HERE
Things Can Only Get Better is available on Kindle HERE
Things Can Only Get Better is available on Audible HERE