Author: Amanda Prowse
Performed by Amanda Prowse
Published: June 2019 by Brilliance Audio
Category: Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Audiobook, Book Review
These are the things I know…
I know my name is Thomasina ‘Hitch’ Waycott
I know I’m not like everyone else.
I know I was born a little bit different, like someone held the instructions upside down or lost a part when they opened the box.
I also know that words are powerful things and they have weight.
I know certain words have sat in my stomach for as long as I can remember and weigh so much that when I’m in a crowd or I meet someone new they pull my shoulders down and make my head hang forward so I can only look at the floor.
Although Thomasina (aka Hitch) Waycott loves her parents, her younger brother, her chickens, her dog, and enjoys working on the family farm, she feels life is passing her by.
Her parents have always been overly protective of her, understandably perhaps, and Thomasina recognises it’s because of the challenges she faces. They don’t want to see her get hurt, physically or otherwise, but she’s desperate for a little independence, to be accepted for herself and not be defined by the way she looks. Just as she’s about to do something positive about it, her brother drops a bombshell.
‘I’m pleased for you, it’s just not what I expected. I’ll miss you — we all will.’ She winced, seeing her opportunity for a little independence fade away before it had even started.
‘You’ll be okay,’ he offered unconvincingly.
Hitch stared ahead at the dark lane before starting the engine. Fatigue now bit, falling over her like a heavy curtain under which she felt crushed. With his revelation, all the joy of the evening was sucked from the cab of the pickup and thrown out of the window, wrapped in the two words from her brother that changed absolutely everything: I’m leaving …
When Grayson Potts comes to stay at the farm for a couple of nights while he attends a seminar in Bristol it marks the beginning of change in Thomasina’s life. There’s common ground between them, both not quite fitting into the ’norm’ and they form a bond neither of them expect or have experienced before. Grayson is completely without guile—honest and direct but kind—a loner who still feels the pang of abandonment from his father leaving when he was a boy, and seemingly cutting Grayson out of his life. To Thomasina’s surprise and delight he’s not fazed by her appearance and instead sees the person she really is. He refuses to call her Hitch, the nickname that resulted from a botched operation on her cleft palette which left a scar that lifted her top lip.
The Things I Know is a lovely, moving story, written beautifully, of two people who had more or less accepted their lot in life, until they met. Unknowingly Thomasina’s parents had undermined her confidence by over compensating for her disabilities, trying to keep her safe. Her cousin had always been horrible to her, and what made it worse, her parents didn’t take her seriously when she complained. And Grayson was ruled by his bitter, alcoholic mother. For all he was a problem solving whizz kid at work, he was unable to work through the issues in his personal life.
Thomasina and Grayson are wonderfully well developed characters, depicted sympathetically and in a realistic, individualistic way. I loved the way Grayson stood up for Thomasina, how they learn from each other and witnessing Thomasina’s self confidence bloom. It’s a story of courage, taking chances, achievement, love and finding happiness.
The story is told from Thomasina’s first person perspective and the structure works really well, each chapter ending with a short, relevant list of things Thomasina knows, which she adds to her journal.
She had always done it. Some might consider her thoughts and dreams to be somewhat juvenile, but for someone who was born with challenges, a girl who had always lived life a few steps behind her peers, lurking in the shadows, hidden from the shiny, perfect girls who reached for the stars, it was how she expressed everything that was too hard to say out loud.