Friday, March 30, 2012

What I've been reading lately

I ordered this book using some Amazon vouchers (most useful gift, by the way!) and by the time it arrived I had forgotten that I wanted to read it. I think it must have been recommended to me by someone. (Whoever it was, thank you!)
Anyhow-I haven't been able to concentrate or relax or sit very still recently and this book eased me into holiday mode.

The synopsis (from Amazon)-
1968. The year Paris takes to the streets. The year Martin Luther King loses his life for a dream. The year Eleanor Maud Portman is born.

Young Elly's world is shaped by those who inhabit it: her loving but maddeningly distractible parents; a best friend who smells of chips and knows exotic words like 'slag'; an ageing fop who tapdances his way into her home, a Shirley Bassey impersonator who trails close behind; lastly, of course, a rabbit called God. In a childhood peppered with moments both ordinary and extraordinary, Elly's one constant is her brother Joe.

Twenty years on, Elly and Joe are fully grown and as close as they ever were. Until, that is, one bright morning when a single, earth-shattering event threatens to destroy their bond forever.

Spanning four decades and moving between suburban Essex, the wild coast of Cornwall and the streets of New York, this is a story about childhood, eccentricity, the darker side of love and sex, the pull and power of family ties, loss and life. More than anything, it's a story about love in all its forms.

What I say (from me)-
At the start I thought the narrative would annoy me. It is written in first person and we first meet Elly at the very start of her life. But actually, I loved the way it was written through Elly. Even as a child she is witty and wise. I also liked the disjointed sentences and thoughts.
A lot happens in this book, but not many events are written about in detail. The writer skims over actions and lets the audience make up the rest. But again, I liked this. It is not too 'busy' to make it unbelievable. It is just the most memorable parts of a life, pulled together in 320 pages. The characters and relationships in this book were funny, real and loving. Some of the plot was obvious from the start; the continual mention of New York and the Twin Towers gave a little too much away, but then the story twists and turns until it finds its way home at the end.
I find film adaptations of books are never satisfying, but I keep thinking that this would be great on screen. I would definitely go to see it.

Thanks Heather for hosting the book club.


  1. I think this sounds like an interesting book, and something I'd probably enjoy.

  2. that looks like a great book, i'm going to have to check it out

  3. We seem to have read quite a few of the same books recently! I bought an ereader a few months ago. I love the immediacy of downloading a book but miss the physical object. You know, being able to flick back and forth and knowing how far from the end of a chapter you are. But... it's light and holds thousands of books. I have a Kobo Touch.


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