There’s a Hole in my Bucket (a journey of two brothers) by Royd Tolkien
Published by Little A, 2021
When Mike is diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, he and his brother, Royd, great grandsons of author JRR Tolkien, decide to tick off as much of his bucket list as possible.
Sadly, Mike died before completing his list but not before he had made a second list: 50 things for Royd to do, some more challenging than others, but all of them outside his comfort zone. Tasks included learning the ukulele, Bungy jumping and a particularly horrible experience with a spider.
The “blurb” suggested a story of brotherly love, tinged with sadness and humour. I really wanted to like this book, having anticipated a moving tribute to a much loved sibling. Unfortunately, there was too much repetition, too many references to JRR Tolkien’s works, too many meetings with “contacts”, too much hugging, kissing and saying “I love you”.
I found the descriptions of some of the medical procedures distressing and attempts to prolong Mike’s life seemed to remove dignity from a dying man. Just my opinion, but one shared by other reviewers.
I understand grief, but with so many references to tears they ceased to have real meaning. The overall result was less a tribute to Mike and more a “poor me, I lost my brother, look at me” story.