I've been too focussed on the ‘Etta problem’, aka trying to make the reader love my unassuming, guilt-ridden, loyal, stubborn, big-hearted, unswervingly ethical, joint main character, just as much as I do, and hiding eggs for the Easter egg hunt (what do you mean, aren’t they teenagers? Well, hubbie’s 42 and he’s never let a pesky little thing like age get in the way of a chocolate scramble) to think about posting. Even though, dear blog, I have missed thee over the past two weeks.
However, I am desperate to tell you about two books which really surprised me in how much I enjoyed them. The first, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, would certainly have passed me by had it not been for the furore I stumbled across over at that large internet book and kitchen sink seller. A reviewer had let out an enormous stinking, howler of a spoiler. The cover has far too many silver stars and sprinkles of glitter for my usual higher echelons of cerebral taste - ok, I'm just not drawn to books with stars on - but the review war had my interest piqued.
Before reading Me Before You, I admit I thought the heated discussion was all a little unnecessary. If somebody was going to get so upset by a spoiler then I wondered if they might prefer to stay away from the high-risk strategy of reading reviews. However, after being absolutely engrossed in and emotionally battered by this tale of a quadriplegic contemplating euthanasia, I was bound to admit that the spoiler really did have the potential to ruin reading and wasn’t one which would be easily forgotten.
Have I hidden the spoiler well enough? I truly hope so!
The second book is The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend. Now, I admit to turning my back on Ms Townsend after devouring Adrian Mole’s teenage hood, his Cappuccino Years and even the hard-backed version of The Wilderness Years after happening upon The Queen and I from many years previously.
The farce, her usual parallels and satire and her wonderful ability to get away with being delightfully un-politically correct whilst being sub-consciously thoughtful all at the same time are all on top form in the Queen and I. However, this novel was my first taste of feeling used and cheated as a reader. I cannot tell you what happens at the end of the book to cause me to throw it across the room and vow never to spend my precious pennies on a Townsend classic again, for fear of issuing a spoiler of Me Before You proportions. (Happily I hadn’t read her books in order and had snuck in all the Adrian Moles to date before my vow so that I wasn’t forced to renege on my principals on sight of a new launch.) Suffice it to say, never have I remembered the ending of a book so precisely and with so much grinding of teeth.
However, something about the title compelled me to pick up The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year and after laughing out loud at the blurb in the middle of a quiet book store, I decided to give a Townsend novel ‘one more go’. Let’s just say, this book isn’t to be taken too seriously but it makes me smile just thinking about the spilled soup which served as the catalyst to one lady’s decision to turn her back on the world.
I’ve reviewed both of these books over in Chase Magazine, the supplement to the Rotherham Advertiser which you can view here Page 36/37.
Next month I’m reviewing Emma Donoghue’s, The Sealed Letter which has propelled me down a path of literary fiction, so absorbed was I in the plight of the fickle Helen and her hard-done-by husband, and The Beginner’s Goodbye by Anne Tyler of which I’m only half way through, and totally engrossed so no spoilers please!
What are you reading at the moment? Please share!