#BookReview: There’s a Hole in My Bucket by Royd Tolkien #MotorNeuroneDisease #ALS #Memoir

Hi everyone! Today, I have a book review for a memoir of a bucket list made by a man dying of Motor Neurone Disease (also know as ALS) for his remaining brother to complete. The surviving brother, Royd Tolkien, completed the bucket list and wrote about it in this book >>>

About the Book:

Book cover for There’s a Hole in My Bucket by Royd TolkienHaving grown up on their great-grandfather’s stories, Royd Tolkien and his brother, Mike, have always enjoyed adventures. So when Mike is diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, the brothers decide to use the time they have left to tick off as much as possible from Mike’s bucket list, from remote camping in Norway to travelling through Royd’s beloved New Zealand.

Yet, when Royd loses Mike, he discovers his brother had been writing another kind of bucket list: fifty things he wanted Royd to do after his death. His first task? Mike wants his mild-mannered brother to trip up on his way to the lectern to deliver his eulogy. What follows is a set of emotionally charged tests that will push Royd firmly out of his comfort zone.

This is the story of Royd’s journey to accomplish a challenging, humorous, and often heart-breaking list of unknown tasks that chart the brothers’ lives from childhood to adulthood. But above all, it is a story of the sibling bond, of grief—and of treasuring every moment.


My Review:


The book description intrigued me, and I wanted to learn more about Mike and Royd, so I picked up a Kindle copy.

The write up promised this would be an emotive read, and it was in many places, but some of it fell flat for me. Especially the latter 25% of the memoir. Perhaps this reflects the writer’s state of mind and mood at that point? Also, many of the bucket list activities got glossed over, and a few felt repetitive. Don’t get me wrong, much of the writing was enjoyable with some well written lines that stood out for me and show the author’s wonderful sense of humour, such as …

‘She speaks to the (clean-up?) crew on the ground, and tells them I’m about to jump.’

And …

‘I’m not a young man anymore, despite what I like to put on my Tinder profile.’

And one that rings true for anyone that bit older in years …

‘Fear comes easier as you get older.’

Because of the subject matter, I wanted to give this read five stars. I really did. However, it isn’t a book that will stay with me. All in all, a good read on a difficult subject, which earns three stars. See my notes on ratings below.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.


4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.

3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.

2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.

1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/


14 Comments on “#BookReview: There’s a Hole in My Bucket by Royd Tolkien #MotorNeuroneDisease #ALS #Memoir

  1. This blurb certainly does sound good, Harmony, I can see why it appealed to you. It’s a pity it didn’t deliver.

  2. You pulled some great lines out of this book, Harmony. “Fear comes easier as you get older…” True words! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this one.

  3. This would be a difficult subject to write and read about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it, Harmony xo

  4. Three stars doesn’t sound bad. It just sounds like it wasn’t the reading experience you expected. Yes, a difficult subject for sure. I appreciate reading your thoughts on the book, Harmony.