Sofa Surfer – Malcolm Duffy

Welcome to my review on the Sofa Surfer blog tour!

Stars: *****

Before I began reading Sofa Surfer, I had a very different idea in my head of what the book was going to be like. I knew it was going to be emotional (I wasn’t wrong there) but it was different to anything I have read before; I wasn’t sure what I was going to think.

It follows the story of Tyler after he moved to Yorkshire from London. He isn’t happy and doesn’t enjoy that he’s moved to the middle of nowhere after the hustle and bustle of the city. Tyler loves to swim so finds himself spending lots of time at the local Lido.

Soon he meets Spider, who wants swimming lessons. Initially he’s reluctant but at the promise of money, he agrees. But Tyler doesn’t bargain for the relationship he is about to build with this girl; she’s unlike anyone he’s ever met before.

When Tyler discovers she’s a sofa surfer, he is troubled. He doesn’t know how he can help her, but knows he wants to. Eventually he has a plan – but Spider doesn’t seem too keen. And neither are his parents. Or his girlfriend.

And that’s when she disappears. And despite everyone else’s negative influence on what he’s trying to do, Tyler still attempts to help her.

This story is full of touching emotional moments which really make you reflect on the homelessness issue we have in the UK. It also demonstrates that being homeless doesn’t always look the way we think it does; sofa surfing or the streets, people are in situations that are not always of their own making.

It raises the profile of an issue which is not often seen reflected in books yet should be addressed. Malcolm has done this in a way which feels authentic and real; not just written for a book, but as though it could be the genuine story of a young person any of us might know.

It’s a really valuable book that builds empathy that our society needs to address an issue which is often ignored, or hurried past.

I finished the book sat in a cafe with a community book swap and, especially with Spider’s love of books in Sofa Surfer, it seemed the perfect place to leave it. I hope whoever picks it up next feels the same way about this book as I do.

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