My grateful thanks to Jon Wilson at Fish Out of Water Books for sending me a copy of Peach by Wayne Barton in return for an honest review.
Peach will be published on 15th January 2019 and is available for pre-order here.
Following the untimely passing of a close friend, British songwriter and producer, Freddie Ward, arrives in Bliss, Idaho to work on a comeback album with beloved singer-songwriter, Hal Granger. Adrift and bereft, Freddie is looking to gain a sense of perspective after a series of bad decisions–decisions that cost him his relationship and life as he knows it. However, almost as soon as Freddie arrives in Idaho, Hal drops an unexpected and devastating bombshell.
Far from the hustle and bustle of his life in England, out in the stark isolation of the northwestern U.S., with time to think, to reflect, Freddie slowly begins to rebuild his life, haunted both by the events of the recent past and his reactions to them.
Through words of wisdom from Hal and a series of meandering, existential, and profound conversations, Peach explores themes such as love, loss, loyalty, and friendship; second chances and redemption; how to make the most of your time; and, last but not least, the meaning of home.
My Review of Peach
With difficult relationships and a death behind him, Freddie Ward heads off to Idaho to write songs with Hal Granger.
If you’re looking for a fast-paced novel with multiple twists and a high body count along the way, then Peach is not the book for you. If, however, you want an intelligent, thought-provoking and profound literary read that immerses the reader in what it is that makes us who we are, then look no further.
It took me a while to attune myself to the pace of Peach, but the more I read, the more I appreciated what a beautifully crafted book this is. There’s such a wise, aphoristic, quality to Wayne Barton’s writing that I felt my own feelings and emotions were clarified by reading this narrative. It’s not overstating my response to say that whilst there is deep sadness between the pages of Peach, there is also a truth and positivity that made me feel that even in my darkest moments I am not alone in experiencing doubts and negativity. I finished the story feeling I had learnt about humanity in general, and myself in particular, so that I felt the same kind of resolution Freddie experiences. It’s no coincidence that he is emotionally lost and writing under a pseudonym when the book opens and that it takes a trip to a small town aptly named Bliss for him to accept himself.
There’s not much in the way of plot in Peach, although there are a few events along the way. Rather, this is a read of conversations and Freddie’s thoughts and introspection. Although Freddie is the central character with the story told from his first person perspective, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him, it is Hal who steals the show. Hal’s truths and pragmatism weave a spellbinding feeling of humanity that I found helpful as well as entertaining. I’d love so many I know to read Peach and learn from it.
It’s difficult to define Peach. I don’t think it’s a book that will suit all readers. I found it emotional and affecting. And I honestly think that although it is a measured and considered creative narrative, it’s as good as any non-fiction self-help book I’ve read too. It’s about love, loss, identity and grief. It’s about the kindness of strangers. Most of all, however, I think Peach is about humanity. I really enjoyed it.
About Wayne Barton
Wayne Barton is a best-selling author, ghost writer and producer.
In 2015 he was described by the Independent as ‘the leading writer on Manchester United’. He has ghost written a number of autobiographies of former footballers.
In 2018 his critically acclaimed biography of former United assistant manager Jimmy Murphy was a number one best seller; this was followed by the December 2018 release of ‘Too Good To Go Down’ which achieved the same accolade. ‘Too Good To Go Down’ is the book of the BT Sport film of the same name, which Wayne worked on in a producer capacity.