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Recently Read

The Good Girl, Fiona Neill

I picked this up in Waterstones on a recent jaunt to the Trafford Centre after scanning through the 'Buy One Get One Half Price' tables and being drawn in by the blurb, which sounded very much like my cup of tea:

"The Field family have just moved from their London home to the wild Norfolk cost. Nine year old Ben's the first to realise that the reasons for the relocation don't quite add up; that the narrative of their family life is constantly being rewritten. 
But why? Just what is everyone hiding?  What is the cataclysmic secret that his mother, Ailsa, harbours from her past? Who is her devoted husband, Harry, receiving anonymous text messages from? Why have their gifted daughter Romy's A-level grades plummeted overnight? And once the truths come out, can the Fields ever go back to how they were?"

I've noticed that this one has received a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads, but I personally couldn't put it down. The story revolves around one family throughout the course of a year, and is told from the perspective of mother, Ailsa and her seventeen year old daughter, Romy. I found the way in which the author explores the dynamics of the mother-daughter relationship very interesting, particularly since it's presented from two different points of view. It's kind of like a set of two psychological character studies but there was still plenty of excitement in the book to keep my interest the whole way through!
★★★★


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer

This book had been cataloged somewhere in the back of my mind for years; really ever since my mum and sister going to see the film adaptation in the cinema and came home singing its praises. However, I always thought it might be too sad, and it wasn't until I was putting together a reading list in preparation for Game of Thrones filming (extra work involves an absolutely extraordinary amount of waiting around) that I decided to finally give it a go. The blurb is as follows:

"Entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace."

Doubling as both the story of a young boy coming to terms with the death of his father as well as somewhat of a social commentary, it was a book I'm glad I read, and overall, I liked. Before I even picked it up I had fairly high expectations considering the fact that there are a lot of people who really love this book, and that it's sitting on a very strong rating of 3.98 stars on Goodreads. However, for me, it didn't quite live up to the hype.

It's hard to explain exactly what I didn't like about it but mostly I think I found the writing a little bit pretentious, particularly the way in which some of the characters and the relationships between them were portrayed. I just couldn't shake the feeling that the book was trying to be something it just wasn't, but I think that opinion definitely puts me in the minority. I'd say it's still very much worth a read.
★★★

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