Wednesday 3 May 2023

Unexpectedly Milo

Finished April 26
Unexpectedly Milo by Matthew Dicks

Milo is an engaging character. As the book opens he is living in an apartment, having separated from his wife Christine. Milo is a nurse. He worked in a care home for quite a while, but he now works in home health care, which means that his day is less structured. He has a number of regular clients that he sees, and he does a variety of tasks for them, some medical in nature, but also some more housekeeping, like raking a shag rug for one of his clients. 
Since he was a child Milo has had urges that come to him, things he needs to do or hear or feel. After giving in to the first time this urge struck him as a child in front of another child and having that go badly, he has hidden these urges from others. He has found a way of coping. Some of these urges have come and gone, other are more longstanding and pop up on a regular basis. He is aware that stress makes them worse, especially when more than one of them come up at a time. 
Because no one else knows about these urges, not his parents or his wife, or any of his D and D friends, he doesn't feel seen, and is a lonely man. 
Near the beginning of the book Milo comes across a bag containing a video camera and several tapes sitting beside a park bench. He sits there with it for a time, but no one returns, so he takes that bag and after finding no clue to the owner in the bag decides to watch the tapes in the hope that he will find out something from them that will let him return these things to the owner. 
This is how the mystery portion of the book begins. He finds the tapes are numbered and contain a video diary by a woman close to him in age. As she begins to reveal her secrets, Milo empathizes with her, and feels protective towards her. He feels bad watching them himself and is determined to stop when he finds enough information to locate her. He certainly doesn't want to share them with anyone else. One of the secrets he learns on the tape leads him in a new direction, trying to find a way to take away the guilt from the woman's past act of protecting a friend. 
Alongside the mystery, we have Milo's interactions with his clients and see their quirks. We also see his relationship with his wife, through their therapy sessions and encounters beyond that. 
Milo is asking questions about his life, his future relationships, while still hiding his OCD from everyone. 
This is a story of a man who cares deeply and feels extraordinarily lonely in his life. As a reader I cared about him and also found it fascinating how he finds ways to cope with these urges of his and how he characterizes them, ascribing them to a inner voice with its own identity. 
I really enjoyed this book and was hoping for the character to find a true connection with someone and some happiness in his own life. 

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