Half a grapefruit anyone?

All those years ago when I first presented my young boys with a half a grapefruit each for breakfast, I had no idea where it might lead.

They were rejected of course, the grapefruits, I mean. Tom, Sam and Harry basically downed spoons. Too bitter. Too unappetising and on my part, too ambitious.

“We want coco pops, not grapefruit.”

The grapefruit enjoyed a golden decade in the 1970’s when somehow it regularly passed as a starter – until someone invented the prawn cocktail and its time was up.

And rejected also by the Holland boys, but I was undeterred and I persevered. Yellow grapefruits made way for the red variety. I halved them in the normal way, and then smashed and cut the flesh to form a little bowl of juice. With a little sugar as required, my boys relented and they became known as Fruit Bowls; just one of the many quirks of their unusual dad.

And the tradition lives on, albeit via a cold press machine these days and grapefruits have been joined by an array of other fruits and vegetables. But the unusual name remains and is one of the reasons why the title of my new novel, The Fruit Bowl is so important to me as it is published tomorrow.

A story that spans thirty years. An innocuous moment that binds two boys together and will come to save the lives of two men.

This innocuous moment is real. It happened to me in my school playground when I was being bullied by a bigger boy and then rescued by an even bigger boy. My memory might be faltering but some recollections are indelible. I was only 14 but even then at I imagined that it might make a compelling place to begin a drama. This was before I failed English Language O Level but this did not deter me either.

The novel that this incident inspired was first published in 2013 as, A Man’s Life. It was my first stab at self-publishing, after the publisher of my first novels had fired me. Smarting and keen to prove them wrong, I imagined that my novel via Amazon would just find its audience and take flight.

It didn’t.

And why I have decided to rekindle what is probably the best story I have written – and with its original title, The Fruit Bowl.

The few readers of A Man’s Life did enjoy it and some were kind enough to say so online. It is never easy to commend one’s own work – so I defer to my favourite quote by a reader called Sharon…

“…I am sitting here a 1.30am feeling a little lost because I have finished this book. You know that sad empty feeling when something great is over.”

Of course, I had intended to launch the book properly. To send out advanced copies to radio stations and TV magazine shows. Newspapers and magazines. On-line book forums and reading clubs… in time to make schedules and book in lots of exposure.

That was the plan, anyway.

And for a raft of reasons – typos, mainly – (seemingly, I am blind), none of this occurred. Not a single advanced copy dispatched. No press release. No interviews booked.

Lucky for me then that I have this blog, carefully curated over 15 years.

Instantly I think of Robert Downey Junior. As Tony Stark in one of Tom’s Spider-Man films – he issued a line that made me howl laughing. Robert likes to ad-lib and this line has the feel of his wit and mischievousness

“Peter, that room is packed with press. Real journalists. No bloggers.”

So the odds are firmly against me then, but this is something I have become accustomed to. Perhaps, appropriate then that The Fruit Bowl is an emotional read and a wrenching book to write.

Tomorrow, I will publish on this website a chat between Tom and I about the novel. Lockdown meant that Tom was in London with not much to do and he had time to read it.

I won’t ruin the interview by revealing that Tom cried reading the book. With sorrow at its opening and then again at the resolution with joy – and the greatest affirmation for me is that he cried more the second time.

The book is released worldwide tomorrow as paperback and eBook and via this site also. ‘Worldwide’ sounds very grand but it really just means on-line, although I suppose not in China, North Korea…

Most novels are read on holiday. Indeed, a great book can define a vacation. The long flights, train journeys and time idling by a pool.

So my timing is good, then?

Er… This is 2020. Covid and the lowest take up of vacations since records began.

And so the odds lengthen even further…

And yet, I remain hopeful. So if you can share this post or even come to the book, then thank you. I hope you enjoy it and if it makes you feel happy, like it did Tom, then you might leave a review on this site or elsewhere.






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75 thoughts on “Half a grapefruit anyone?

  1. Lorraine says:

    I’m so looking forward to the Fruit Bowl Dom. Countdown well and truly underway! I’m hoping it arrives before I go down the country! I’m glad you got such a reaction from Tom, I’d imagine he would be totally honest with you. I’ve listened to all the blogs and have followed all of the information about it and can’t wait to finally get my hands on it. I wish you all the best with this story which clearly means so much to you Dom. Have a great week.
    Ps. Loved Tessa in the park looking for a treat – what a clever girl

    • Em says:

      I’ve just ordered my copy – I look forward to reading it over my upcoming two weeks off work!

      It must be lovely to see all your hard work finally come to fruition, and I wish you every success with a book that sounds very personal and dear to you.

      • Guada says:

        Hey, I have to say that The Fruit Bowl is amazing (or that is that i tought when I finished to read this article), it looks intersting and I want to read this book but the problem os that i’m argentine and I don’t no what i have to do to get it… if you can answer me I’ll be very greatefull…. so, thank’s, bye

    • Merel clauwens says:

      I am so exided for this book! Actually i has a great background story and i just really want to enjoy this book! The reaction you got from tom made me really happy. This book mean clearly so much to you guys! I hope you al are doing wel !

    • mireyy says:

      I just ordered a copy and am, too, really looking forward to reading it. I wish you all the support in the world and hope the book – which clearly means so much to you – takes off this time!
      All the best to you and your family!

  2. mia says:

    i am so excited for this novel and am looking forward to seeing what you’ve created, i’m looking forward to purchasing this book tomorrow as i’ve been looking forward to it for a while now. i hope all is well in london and you and your family are safe.
    all the best wishes from australia.
    mia 🙂

    • Ambard says:

      Hola Dom.. Siempre leo tus blogs pero primera vez q escribo, tu libro se podrá encontrar también en español? Y se comercializará en países de Suramerica?
      Por cierto mi hijo y yo somos fans de Tom es un grandioso actor felicitaciones..

    • Gaby Huizar says:

      I never knew I could feel this proud of a person I don’t know. I’m young (I’m 19), I’m on the other side of the world, I speak a different language, and I’m eager to read this new wonder of yours. Thank you for writing!

      – Love,

  3. Melanie says:

    Il was lucky enough to receive a copy of TFB with the international reading day..what a joy..I even pre ordered on Amazon…Now that it will be available on this site also..I’m debating if I should get another copy…Asking the question is answering it!! To the shopping cart we go

    • Dom says:

      you will see a pivotal change on p1. A note from a film producer via one of his readers – and I think its a great change and makes the story more full and complete

      • Aissata says:

        Hello Mr. Dominic, I would like to know if there will be any copy in Spanish since my English is not so good and I would like to find out 100%.
        Ps: Regards!

        • Dom says:

          I am afraid not – it’s too expensive and a risk without knowing take-up. And if I can’t do a typo manuscript, imagine the quagmire that would be my writing in a foreign language!

  4. Sydnee Coleman says:

    Beautiful blog, as always Mr.H. This reminds me of my dad, and his wacky food concoctions to make us eat what we didn’t want to, everything from meat loaf to what my dad called trash cans and hotdogs with peanut butter and Cheetos. I’m glad, this book is able to bat again for you and I’m also glad that Tom loves it, it good to have your kids love your work, I think. Lol

  5. David F. says:

    Hello Dom! I am confident in you, I have almost all your books that I find wonderful and your blogs are always interesting and keep company. I pre-ordered this little masterpiece that I can’t wait for it to arrive and I’m really looking forward to reading it. I will not miss my review. Thank you always for everything and have a good day!

  6. Dan-Solo says:

    After hearing so much about the book and its rewrite, I cannot wait to get my copy! In an unusual way the timing may actually be perfect. Sure, holidays are low but, with an almost worldwide lockdown, I’d imagine your blogs have reached a much larger audience.
    Good luck with the release, I’m sure it’s going to be a massive hit!

      • Becca A says:

        Happy publication day for tomorrow I’m really looking forward to getting my copy through the post! I thoroughly enjoy reading anything you’ve written, be it blogs or your books, and the build up to the publication of The Fruit Bowl on your Patreon has made me really excited to read it! Good luck with it’s publication!

  7. Regina says:

    Perhaps time and circumstances have played right into your hands. With so many people still at home, they are looking for new things to read/watch. Perhaps a novel that will make them cry (for sorrow and joy) is just what everyone needs right now especially in America. Best of luck! I look forward to it being made available for all of us.

      • Becky Z. says:

        I am so excited for this book and am so confident that it will be fantastic that I have ordered two copies and will be sharing with a good friend of mine. It will be the book that gets my Dom Holland Book Club up and running!

        Much love to you and the Holland family from MN. Also adding prayers for Tom that he stays safe and healthy while filming in Berlin. ❤️

      • Becky Z. says:

        I am so excited for this book and am so confident that it will be fantastic that I have ordered two copies and will be sharing with a good friend of mine. It will be the book that gets my Dom Holland Book Club up and running!

        Much love to you and the Holland family from MN. Also adding prayers for Tom that he stays safe and healthy while filming in Berlin.

  8. Heather says:

    I’m a lucky recipient of the initial (typo infused) run and am currently at Chapter 17. To say that I’ve ‘cried’ so far while reading would be a massive understatement. I bawled….so much so that I had to stop several times to take a breath & collect myself as I couldn’t see the pages anymore through the tears. The emotional toll at the start is gut-wrenching. Although I’m a pretty emotional person (I cry at tv ads for goodness sake) I’ve never reacted so strongly to a book ever before. Can’t wait to see the progression of this wonderful story to the ending as yet another crying session apparently.

  9. A.J. says:

    I loved this book when I first read it last summer, although it ended up being a truly emotional experience for me. I read it at just the right moment in my life; the ending was exactly what I needed right then.

    I’ve pre-ordered my copy of the updated version, but I’m always going to treasure the original. Thank you for telling such a healing and beautiful story.

  10. Nicole Britto says:

    I remember when I read A Man’s Life and spent almost a week thinking about it. It is a great book, impossible not to be moved, I really hope it has the recognition it deserves and that many people can still read this book, including here in Brazil (I loved the references). All the best.

      • Michele says:

        I can’t wait to read this book! It will take longer to arrive here in Wisconsin, but good things are worth waiting for. I love that it’s a personal story for you and that even the title is a quirky family tradition. Those are the best! Whenever my Dad calls, we answer the phone “Schultz’s Fish Market.” Not sure why, we’re not named Schultz. It was started by my grandfather, and continued all these years. I even have a ring engraved with the phrase. So thank you for sharing your family traditions with us… I definitely appreciate it.

  11. Jessica Barajas says:

    Pre-ordered my copy on amazon and I’m hoping it will come on my day off otherwise my mail thieves will steal it away! But then again maybe that means I should buy a copy here as a back up …

    • Estef Rodriguez says:

      I’m excited, I’m sure this book will be a success, I already ordered my copy , I look forward to it, I love your Dom books.
      Thanks for giving us something to read in quarantine.
      Greetings to the Holland family, I hope you are very well.

  12. Macarena says:

    I can’t wait for it to arrive and read it! About sharing it, I’m sure there are a lot of people reading this post because we love your content and I’m also sure that a lot of us have twitter so, I think we could all go over there and share some love and support to #thefruitbowl because publishing a book requires a lot of hard work and sharing is caring, and it’s also free!!

  13. Anya Thea says:

    I’m very much looking forward to reading this book, I’ve just become a patreon to your blog, and I’ve got myself some of your books on kindle. I also preordered The Fruit Bowl, I really love the way you write and I’m excited to go on an emotional rollercoaster ride in this next book.

  14. Perry says:

    I have been reading your blogs for a while now and have been looking forward to the release of your book the Fruit Bowl. Have already ordered your previous books online. I have a lot of reading to do during this quarantine. As I’m from India, I cannot have access to the physical books, but I guess e-books will have to do. If Tom has had such a reaction to your book then I’m sure i’ll thoroughly enjoy the book. I wish you the best.

  15. Emilee says:

    Thanks for the good Sunday read. I’m so looking forward to my copy to arrive. I have really enjoyed learning more about how the fruit bowl came to be on your Patreon sight. Thank you for sharing with us all ❤️

  16. Lynn Margaret Alice Gomes says:

    I know it must be so exciting but also scary to write a book that you have worked so hard on and put so much heart into. You’ve done your part now so I hope you can rest easy and let your writing do the work for you. It’s been great getting a ‘sneak peak’ into the first chapters on your Patreon site and I’m so glad that I subscribed. I can’t wait to read the rest of this book and to support you in an way that I can.

  17. Vicki Gilbert says:

    Looking forward to ordering mine, and getting it signed! My friend in Germany purchased it for the same postage as my postage will be in England! It’s worth it though, need to get back into reading!

  18. Finja says:

    I ordered most of your books already and the last two followed a few days ago. I am really emotional so maybe I will cry like Tom but sometimes i don’t get the jokes or real meanings of something.. English is just my second language so sometimes I struggle but I will do my best to understand everything!
    PS.: I feel like your answers are totally northern german: pretty short and just the most important content your interested in. Like Moin and Moin Moin would be too much

    • Banda. says:

      Ya quiero leerlo, se ve que sera algo para reflexionar en estos momentos tan intrigantes.
      Pd: Gracias por el gran significado de no rendirnos nunca.

  19. Sinaida Curi says:

    I hope your book brings tears of JOY to your readers as much as it did to your son!
    Have a blessed week!
    (Sinaida, greetings from Brazil!)

  20. Isabel Duffy says:

    I ordered the fruit bowl last week and I’m so excited! I read Open Links and absolutely loved it so I’m optimistic this one will be a hit as well! Thanks and hope all is well Dom!
    -Isabel Duffy

  21. Sasha says:

    Reading this, I definitely want to read more, it’s so interesting and intriguing. So far I love what this books about and I am definitely buying it, 10/10 I love this book.

      • Daniela says:

        I am so thrilled to buy this book and to start reading it! A new book with an amazing story is always welcome in my house, and the passion and love that you show in making this book just makes everything better! Hope you get the love and attention that you deserve 🙂

  22. Marie says:

    OMG i am so so excited about the Book . I hope it gets exactly the attention it and you deserve. Thank you for putting so much effort into your books!

  23. Ryan says:

    I just finished a man’s life on my Kindle yesterday. Loved it! Looking forward to reading the republished and renamed version when my copy arrives. Excellent post as usual Dom 🙂

  24. Hannah croshaw says:

    This really put a genuine smile on my face after a pretty award winning bad day. I love hearing about little things you now make a habit in your family even if it’s as simple as fruit bowl. I always find those type of things the most precious. I can’t wait for the book Dom ! And I was thinking of gifting one to some of my other family as your books are often praised in my house ! Any can’t wait, I hope the emotional start and end isn’t too harsh as I have only just finished crying from my last book 🙂

  25. Daniela says:

    Hello! I”m from Mexico do you know if shipping is available? It reminded me of a story my dad shared recently with me, he was in middle school and there was an older kid that wanted to fight my dad, (he didn’t say why now that I remember) then an even older kid came to the rescue and became friends ever since. Now I really need to read this book! Hope I can get it all the way to Mexico. Congratulations

  26. Lilian says:

    My Birthday is in a few days and I’m looking forward to get a copy! I can’t wait to get it in my hands! It sounds so personal and beautiful! I’m from Germany, so is it possible to get it here? Hope you and your family have a great week!

  27. Skiwi says:

    Hello uncle Dom … I was so exited after reading this blog … Any idea if this book would be available in India?

  28. Beth says:

    I’m yet to try grapefruit… but if its anything like lemons I might pass on how regularly I eat it!
    I hope you enjoyed writing and reading it as much as your audience will enjoy it. Can’t wait to read your best-selling book (as I’m sure it will achieve this title!)

  29. Lamara says:

    It sounds really good. I’ll be there tomorrow. I’m really excited. And I’m sure that it’ll make me cry too. With all my good wishes. 🙂

  30. Lamara Merjo says:

    First of all i love grapefruit. And I’m really excited. My first language isn’t english, so TFB will help me for learning it better too. After all the hard work and a piece of yourself you’ve put in it, i am sure that it will be amazing. Can’t wait to get my copy.
    With all my good wishes 🙂
    (And sorry if wrote something wrong)

  31. Valia Ettman says:

    Hallow Dom ,
    Actually my parents and my teachers tell me I am a good writer so here is what I did I wanted to write so I thought what if I wrote on Twitter my story and people may start following me liking it but no many people have seen it and no comment so I thought maybe if people found that someone followed my account or liked the post they will do so I made a fake account the hardest parts where the name and the photo I liked my tweet and I said things like you are a great writer keep writing I replied to myself too am I crazy or desperate why are they both negative ? But after I read your blog it’s normal but I actually found that it’s funny maybe if I became a writer I will recall it and I will start laughing

  32. Matthew says:

    I read this when it was published as A Man’s Life. I loved every second of it and I’m so glad there’s a second bite of the cherry for those that missed it the first time. Beautifully written and oh so poignant!

    • Dom says:

      that’s kind of you Matthew – a reader of A Man’s Life puts in a hallowed group. Readers of The Fruit Bowl are much greater in number and I hoping one of them is the word of mouth breakthrough that all writers dream of. Thanks for coming to my books.

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