Books

Silence Is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

I really didn’t mean to buy a novel I really didn’t mean to and yes I know I get them in the post for free anyway so why would I bother buying one it’s just that it had a pretty cover and an intriguing blurb and so whoops it jumped off the shelf into my hand and then my bag and then came home (via the till, obviously, I’m not some kind of book thief).

Anyway, I’m glad I bought it, because it was good. And kind of intriguing.

Silence Is Goldfish is the story of Tess, who suddenly stops talking when she unearths a horrible secret. She feels like she belongs nowhere, like she’s floating lost through the world – and her only friend is a toy goldfish she carries around in her pocket.

Naturally, this doesn’t exactly make for an easy ride, and Tess must deal with being bullied at school alongside all the other things that are going on.

Can she find some way to help herself through this mess?

In the words of the blurb:

My name is Tess Turner – at least, that’s what I’ve always been told.

I have a voice but it isn’t mine.
It used to say things so I’d fit in, to please my parents, to please my teachers.
It used to tell the universe I was something I wasn’t.
It lied.

It never occurred to me that everyone else was lying too. But the words that really hurt weren’t the lies: it was six hundred and seventeen words of truth that turned my world upside down.

Words scare me, the lies and the truth, so I decided to stop using them.

I am Pluto. Silent. Inaccessible. Billions of miles away from everything I thought I knew.


The storyline of this book is interesting, easy to follow, and a good read. But the main reason I liked it so much is the tone. Annabel Pitcher perfectly captures what it feels like to be a teenager (at least, what I remember of it…) and I spent various parts of the book going “Oh! I’d forgotten what that was like!”

It was a bit like looking back through the years and seeing the whole thing in a different light – school, friends, the way the world seems when you’re young and don’t feel at all free.

A couple of my favourite quotes:

“That is love, making endless tea for someone who never drinks it, just in case this is the one morning they might actually want a sip”

And something I’ve thought several times, but never quite managed to put into words:

“Like last week [at school], there was a talk by some guy who works behind the scenes for Formula One. I’m not into cars but his job was objectively impressive…

They think it’s what we need to hear, but it’s the opposite. Inviting glamorous people into college, asking them to parade their glamorous lives on stage, getting them to inspire us with their message that anything is possible if only we believe. Dream. Reach for the stars. Well, no thanks. That’s not for me. I’m not going to get there, and neither are most people that I know, and that’s fine by me. It really is. When did it stop being fine for everyone else? The normal stuff. Sunday roasts and, I don’t know, taking a walk in the park and listening to music and working in an ordinary job for an ordinary wage that will allow you to maybe go on holiday once a year, and really look forward to it too because you’re not a greedy bastard wanting more, more, more, all the time. That’s who should be doing a talk at college. Seriously. Show me someone happy with a life like that, because it’s enough. It should be enough. All that other stuff is meaningless.”

As you’ve probably guessed,  it’s definitely a book I’d recommend. Funny, sad, relatable, a bit philosophical in places, it perfectly captures life as a lost teenager and reminds the reader about that stage in life where you had no idea what was going to happen, but somehow you had an opinion on it anyway.

Find it, read it, pass it on.

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