Friday, 22 February 2013
This book is about a teenage girl, Hazel, who has terminal cancer and the plot focuses on her relationship with her parents, friends and other cancer patients. Obviously this is depressing but not as depressing as you would think, mainly because it's not very good. There are some touching moments but I never felt really engaged with any of the characters, who were all much too one dimensional to really connect with. Hazel treats her disease with cynicism and sometimes humour which I also found a barrier to any emotional relationship with her as a character because the reader is never given an opportunity to see past what is obviously a defensive barrier. Personally I did not enjoy this book which for me seemed to skim the surface of this potentially highly emotive subject.
This is a classic novel about coming of age and the discovery of love. The novel is set in an old castle inhabited by a destitute family and their young servant and is narrated by one of the daughters. The characters are all very well drawn and easy to relate to which makes this book surprisingly gripping given the far from unusual plot. For me the most interesting character was the father, a writer who has not written a word in years and whose mercurial personality impacts on the whole household. However, the two daughters are also intriguingly portrayed and the complexity of their personalities gives this book real depth. The writing, in particular the dialogue, is excellent. A very enjoyable and worthwhile read.
I really enjoyed this dark comedy about a young man trying to find his way in life in as peaceful a way as possible. The writing is good and the comic style reminded me a bit of PG Wodehouse. The main character, Jim, is very easy to like, realistic and engaging which makes this book enjoyable to read. The plot is not especially gripping and at times can be slightly slow but on the other hand the more gentle pace of this novel allows the comic scenes to be set up perfectly. Overall a very well written enjoyable comic novel.