Monday, 18 July 2011

I don't often write negative reviews, not out of kindness but if I haven't enjoyed a book I'm usually too bored to be bothered writing about it.
But this was so bad that I finished it simply to see how much worse it could get.
If I were teaching a creative writing course, I'd use it as a textbook.
Of everything that a first-time novelist could do wrong.
How on earth did it get on last year's Orange Prize longlist?

15 comments:

Sue said...

I've just read the first chapter on Amazon. Isn't the writing appalling? How old is the writer -14?

mary said...

It doesn't improve from thereon, Sue. However, she is married to Tim Waterstone ... which must help!

Toffeeapple said...

Mary, I am shocked! Now I want to read some of it.
Sue, how did you access the first chapter on Amazon please? I can't find anything other than the product description.

Sue said...

Toffee, there's a 'look inside' feature if you click on the image of the book.

mary said...

I'm sure there's a name for this kind of reverse marketing, Toffeeapple!
I was wondering whether to recommend it to a friend who is writing a novel - but she might take it the wrong way!
Anyway, them as can, do ... them as can't, only blog about it?

Toffeeapple said...

Thanks Sue, I didn't notice that earlier Dumbo that I am.
Mary, I'm sure you are right but I'd rather stick to Persephone types.

Toffeeapple said...

I see what you mean! This is definitely one that I shall not be buying, I was bored after page 2. Thank you both for the warning.

mary said...

Now you mention it, there's a Persephone novel about an evacuee that I've been meaning to get hold of. It's called Doreen, but I can't remember off-hand who it's by.

Toffeeapple said...

It's by Barbara Noble book number 60. I've not read it yet, just coming to the end of 'The Shuttle' which I am enjoying enormously.

kristina said...

Doreen is fabulous. Now off to read those first few pages on Amazon. Yikes. K x

StuckInABook said...

Details, please!

Preseli Mags said...

I hated it too and was made to feel such a cow by my book group for saying so. I'm so glad to read that it wasn't just me!

mary said...

Simon, I know I'm being lazy but if you look on Amazon (which I should have done before I read it!) there's literally dozens of 1* and 2* reviews, summing up it very lucidly.
So you're in good company, Mags!

galant said...

Maybe I'm the dumbo here, but I've just read the taster on Amazon and I like what I've read thus far. Perhaps insufficient to make a final assessment, but I've certainly read worse. A bit too much explaining, i.e. we didn't need "department store" after Derry & Tom's, we'd have realised what it was when things being purchased were described, and to describe something as an Aladdin's cave is a cliche, but other than that, I thought it certainly captured the urgency of buying things for Anna's escape to the country, even down to the blue striped bathing costume. Then over to Warsaw where things were getting grimmer by the minute. Surely this isn't as bad as some of you have said? Can anyone say why this is so very bad? Yes, perhaps a few too many modifiers (adjectives and adverbs in journo speak.) I must look at the reviews on Amazon now to see what others have said.
Margaret P

mary said...

I think it needed much more rigorous editing, Margaret. A red pen through those adjectives ... and that entire Warsaw/concentration camps strand should have been saved for another book. (Not that you can tell this from the Amazon taster, but it's going nowhere.) To me, it read like a first draft. Or a film treatment that needed to be fleshed out by actors. I think I read somewhere that the author's day job is TV or films.