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  • Writer's pictureGaili Schoen

The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson

"That girl on the bus changed my life. If it wasn't for her, I'd have never had the confidence to stand up to my parents, never become an actor and lived the life I've had. So I want to say thank you."

Happy Sunday!

I'm a little short on time these days, as I am giving free video piano classes through an online community called Sixty and Me. So to prevent me from falling behind, I am going to take a shortcut and post a book summary from Kirkus:

"Three intertwined stories—one set in 1962 and two in 2022—are linked to rides on London’s bus route 88.
In 1962, 22-year-old Frank’s life changed forever. He met a woman on the bus, she sketched a picture of him, wrote her phone number on her bus ticket, and advised him to go for his dream of being an actor. But their prospective date at the National Gallery was never to be, because he lost the ticket on his way home. Now in his 80s, Frank has been diagnosed with dementia after a 50-year career in the theater, and he rides the same route searching for the lost woman, chatting with strangers, and learning about everyone around him. Libby is turning 30 and has recently been unceremoniously dumped by Simon, her partner of 8 years. Without a home or a job—she did accounting work for Simon’s gardening business—she lands at her sister Rebecca’s London home and begins looking after her 4-year-old nephew, whose nanny had a family emergency. Libby meets Frank on the bus on the way to Rebecca's house and decides to begin helping him track down his long-lost girl. Frank’s carer—a mohawked punk named Dylan—joins her efforts. Someone named Peggy (could she be Frank’s girl?) narrates the third story, describing what she sees on the same route. Author Sampson has done a masterful job of misdirection, offering tidbits of information that seem to lead one way but then are shown to have been leading somewhere else altogether. This is an engaging read that touches on aging and the physical incapacities it brings, lost and misplaced love, the power of accepting people as they truly are, finding the reliance to build a life on one’s own, and the family that can be forged in friendships."

I enjoyed listening to the audiobook for The Lost Ticket (called The Girl on the 88 Bus in England, which to me is the better title!) The characters were like-able and vividly drawn. I especially enjoyed the non-traditional friendships between old Frank and young Libby and Dylan, and their friendships with Esme, a young woman with Down Syndrome.

Paperback 368 pages, Audiobook 9 hours 35 minutes, and available free from your library on the LIBBY app.

I'm currently reading A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, and I'm listening to, yes, I admit it, Prince Harry's memoir, Spare. I'm enjoying both. What are you reading these days?


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