Mr Doubler Begins Again
By Seni Glaister, and and, Anna Benting
‘Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ Hello!
`Extremely charming’ Marian Keyes
Mr Doubler is a sweet man who loves the simple pleasures in life, when his cleaner of 15 years is taken ill his life takes on new fulfilment with the help of a few friends on the way. Mrs. Millwood has been Mr. Doubler's only friend for such a long time when she is taken ill he is at a loss, luckily the long lunch chats have built a bond between them that means she was never going to leave him on his own, she sends her firm but fair daughter to keep him on the straight and narrow up on the secluded Mirth farm. Set on a potato farm, this is a heart warming tale of love and loss, friendships and families, exploring those relationships and how they can help your life flourish. I liked all the characters, even his money grabbing son Julian, well written bad guys are my favourite, although Mr Doubler comes a close second with his immense knowledge of gin! A great read I would reccomend to all those worried about loneliness.
Mr Doubler is a meticulous gentleman who is obsessed by potatoes. He lives on an isolated farm, and has become somewhat of a recluse since his wife died 20 years ago. His sole aim in life to become a potato grower extraordinaire and his days are ordered by a routine which he follows faithfully. This includes observing and recording information pertaining to his beloved potatoes, checking up on the security of his farm to protect it from (possibly imagined) threats and eating his lunch with Mrs Millwood, a widow who comes in five days a week to help out with the housework. When Mrs Millwood becomes ill and is taken into hospital, his routine is severely disrupted and his life begins to change in ways he would never have thought possible.
I think I have fallen in love with Mr Doubler - he is a wonderful man. At the start this is a slow, ponderous book but it gains momentum as it progresses. There are plenty of astute observations, two very well developed characters whose interaction forms the basis of the majority of the book and some very amusing moments to lighten the atmosphere. It is also tender, compassionate and laugh-out-loud funny in places. Add to this a good helping of philosophy and you have the basis for a very interesting book. The double-act formed by Mr Doubler and Mrs Millwood is a creative masterpiece and the situations in which Mr Doubler finds himself when circumstances dictate that he take himself out of his comfort zone are very cleverly engineered by the author. The book is also very well written - the language, punctuation and sentence construction are a delight and make the narrative flow seamlessly.
My only criticism is that although the start of the book was never quite boring, it did take me a little while to get into. My goodness me though, I soon became completely entranced. It also wasn’t entirely clear to me whether his surname was Doubler or whether this was a nickname. Whilst the book is called “Mr. Doubler begins again”, there is a reference to “Doubler” being a potato-related nick-name (at least I am pretty sure there was, but I can’t actually find that passage again now).
I hope there is enough material for Mr Doubler to have a sequel dedicated to him. Needless to say I will be looking out for it. Well done Seni.
Mr Doubler lives all alone at Mirth Farm on top of a hill. The only company he wants or needs are his beloved potato plants, and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day. But when Mrs Millwood is taken ill it ruins everything, and Doubler begins to worry that he has lost his way in life.
This book proved very popular with our bookgroup. One described it as "one of my favourite books for a long time". It is both a good read, and a thought-provoking read, not always an easy combination to achieve. A feel-good book, but with depth.
We warmed to the character of Mr Doubler, and liked the way that he, and his relationship with Mrs Millwood and his rural community, developed over the course of the novel. The story is many-hued, being in turn funny, touching, uplifting and sad. It touches on many of the major social issues of the day, including loneliness, rural isolation, ageing, family relationships, and how to live a meaningful life, but also tells a good tale, and keeps the reader engaged.
We particularly enjoyed the descriptions of baking and of making and drinking a good gin! Some members would have liked a little less dialogue in the book and a little more description of the countryside and the seasons, since the story is very rooted in a sense of place and the real value of land. We thought it could translate into an interesting film, and was definitely a novel that would repay re-reading. Will there be a sequel?
Overall a really lovely story about ageing, family, and community, with some valuable lessons about the pleasures of doing things the old-fashioned way, working the land, and enjoying the fruits of your labours.
Rating: 9 members read the book. Average score 4.6 /5
What an absolute gem of a book. I loved Mr Doubler, and all the characters he met through his wise housekeeper - everyone needs a Mrs Millwood in their lives. The vivid descriptions of everyday situations fair leapt off the page and into my imagination. This is a book about second chances, and I was rooting for Mr Doubler all the way through the story. This is a perfect book for cosying up with on a cold winter's day, and left me smiling long after I had finished reading it.