Josie Laird recommends Fake Baby by Amy McDaid - Penguin Random House, 2020
Amy McDaid is a nurse and single mum from West Auckland who has always wanted to be a writer.
The draft of Fake Baby won the Sir James Wallace Prize in 2017.
Funny and sad and engaging.
This wonderful book follows three characters and their interweaving lives in West Auckland, as they struggle to make sense of a world which ignores them. If that sounds depressing, it’s not. The author, Amy McDaid, uses humour and language to bring us into their worlds and make us care about these people. Right from the start, we want them to break through the barriers they feel with the people around them.
Stephen is a homeless man with a mission — to save the world from the wrath of his dead father. Stephen is a poet, but only we can appreciate that, as we follow the rhyming and word association in his head.
Jaanvi steals the fake baby of the title from a lingerie shop, to replace her own dead baby. Her husband, friends and family don’t think this is the right way to grieve.
Lucas just wants someone to love, before he is too old. And he’s sick of eating baked beans.
Every sentence of this book feels perfect — witty, keenly observed, building the story. I didn’t want to finish but couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. McDaid won the Sir James Wallace prize for this book, her first, written for her Master of Creative Writing, and it was richly deserved. I will not hesitate to buy her next novel, and I hope that’s soon.
Fake Baby is available in paperback at local bookshops and as an eBook from Amazon.