Saturday, 11 May 2013

Review: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was another one of my 'I really should have read this by now' books, and I'm glad I did.

For the first 100 pages or so, I was surprised that this was a début novel as the prose flowed so well and the story was tight and consistent. After that though, it did begin to flounder and the inexperience showed. Without giving anything away, once Lewycka moves the plot on it tends to get bogged down.
Thankfully, it's a very easy and quick read, so it wasn't a chore to get to the final third's denouement which is both satisfactory and heartfelt.

I would have loved to give it four stars (maybe it is time for Goodreads to implement the half star?), but any faults with this novel certainly would stop me from tracking down any of her subsequent releases.

Great for the garden or the beach or those annoyingly long commutes.

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Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Review: Ford County

Ford County
Ford County by John Grisham

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After a busy week, I needed a quick read that didn't get me too hooked and this was perfect. It was also my first experience of Grisham as an author. Sure, I'd sleepwalked through the movie adaptations of his novels, but I'd never felt the urge to pick up any of his books. Suffice to say, after this collection of short stories about small town life I will be.
Be warned though, some of the stories don't make for easy reading: a family visiting their son on death row for the last time, a man ostracised by his family and community for his 'condition', but some will supply the odd wry smile and they're mostly based on revenge.
What Grisham does well is write characters you can empathise with, even if they're unlikeable (take note Sue Townsend ) to the extent that by the end of each story you feel for almost everybody caught in that situation.

This is a great 'weekend/long journey' book, but don't think you'll be able to do 'just' one story at a time. You'll be onto the next on in no time.

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Thursday, 2 May 2013

Review: The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year

The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend

My rating: 1 of 5 stars


Very rarely do I come across a book that makes me so angry and disappointed in it's author that I cannot finish it.
Townsend (who I was a fan of due to her brilliant Mole series) really dropped the ball with this one.
It is full of characters so horrific and unlike-able with no redeeming features whatsoever.
From the selfish, melodramatic and (cliché-ridden) doormat of the central character Eva Beaver who married a bigoted bully when they didn't even like each other, to her neurotic, pampered, almost incestuous prodigy twins (named after that father no less) this is a mess.
Don't be fooled by the reviews claiming it's "hysterical" either. Unless you find someone so obnoxious that she asks three people to deal with her waste (via funnels and carrier bags) rather than touch the floor on the way to her lavish en-suite, a real rib-tickler of a situation.

You wouldn't have these people as friends. Don't waste precious reading time inviting them into your lives.

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