Sunday, 22 January 2012

Books, Books, Books...

PERFECT MATCH - Jodi Picoult

We all know how much I love Jodi Picoult's books, and this is NO exception.  When Nina and Caleb discover their five year old son has been sexually abused , the ensuing investigation threatens to tear the very fabric of their world apart.  The twists and turns in this book made me gasp out loud and want to punch somebody in the face, and then I cried.  The clue is in the title.  A perfect read.  I always feel so much better after a bit of Picoult.

FROZEN MUSIC - Marika Cobbold

An absolute joy.
I'd never heard of Marika Cobbold and was a bit worried it wouldn't be my kind of 'thing', half the story being set in Sweden and having *shh* foreign people in it, but the cover pulled me in and the first line: "My name is Esther Fisher and I'm about to walk out on the only man I've ever loved.".  Hooked.  The writing was so refreshingly honest, so clean, so funny, so clever that I actually laughed out loud at some points and wanted to meet these people personally.  Esther is spikey, sceptical and deeply romantic if only she let herself be.  Her mother is a work of comic genius...when her husband (Esther's father) dies, she immediately takes to her bed and starts to eat for England, devouring books and chocolates as if she's been starved of both her whole married life. And in Linus, we have the perfect  hero.  He doesn't know how wonderful he truly is, and all the way through I wanted to take him by the collar and give him a damned good talking to (well... you know...). Everyone should read this book.  It makes the heart glad, it really does.


I noticed this as one of Richard and Judy's 2012 reads and thought the premise sounded terrific.  Middle class suburban back-to-work and stressed out couple need to find the perfect person to keep their children safe and sound and fed and watered whilst they try to hold their marriage and careers together.  Enter Aggie who appears on the surface to be the best thing since Mary Poppins.
It's a slow burner, I have to admit, even though you kind of get the gist of where it was going, it felt like going all round Will's mother's and back again just to get to the shop down the road.  But it's well crafted and the suspense and impact is unsettling and deeply, deeply worrying.
Be careful who you let into your lives, they could be the best actor you ever met.

LEAVING THE WORLD - Douglas Kennedy
I've never heard of Douglas Kennedy before and I only picked the book up because the cover reminded me of a similar cover of one of my friends' books (Clodagh Murphy - The Disengagement Ring).  And I DO like to see how a man paints/writes the world othrough a woman's eyes.
On the eve of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard makes a vow to her warring parents never to marry or have children and this is a premise I also loved the idea of.  I can't say I was thoroughly entertained by this story but I was rooting for Jane the whole way through and it was an excellent character-led story albeit quite a tragic one.

ME BEFORE YOU - Jojo Moyes

Wow.  Just wow.
Definitely on a par with my favourite of last year: Sarra Manning's 'You don't Have to Say You Love Me'. The chick-lit genre has become flimsy, formulaic fluffiness but here, JoJo Moyes has re-established it's former fabulousness and written a book that is head and shoulders above its peers.
Lou Clarke leads such a small and ordinary life that you immediately connect with her and her quirky family. When she loses her nice, safe little job as a waitress, I actually felt like I'd gone with her to the Job Centre and tried all the hopeless, dead-end, digusting positions she tries fitting into to help pay the bills back at home.  And it's not every day (I can't remember ONE other actually) where the hero of the story is a quadraplegic. This could have not worked on so many levels that it makes the whole thing a piece of genius.  It poses questions and highlights choices not only for the disabled and able-bodied, but also makes you reconsider how we choose to live the life we have.  I didn't want to, but I wept like a baby at the end. In a good way.  You will too.  Heartwarming, life-affirming and uplifting to the power of a gazillion.


Kamille Elahi said...

I've never read Perfect Match! It must be one of the only Picoult books I haven't read.

I think I'll add Frozen Music to my reading list. I haven't read many books set in foreign countries.

Debs Riccio said...

Kamille, you'll LOVE Frozen Music - I'm even jealous of you being able to read it for the first time! :)

Kamille Elahi said...

Debs, I'm glad you posted about it. It's a nice change from seeing reviews about YA paranormal romance *is sick*.

I love the cover and it sounds like my kinda book.

Keris Stainton said...

I loved Me Before You too, but it's not chick lit. (How is it chick lit? Apart from being written by a woman?)

Debs Riccio said...

sorry, Keris, shouldn't assume if it's a pink cover love-story with some funny moments that it's chick-lit. I stand corrected :)

Keris Stainton said...

Exactly! ;) (Although god only knows what chick lit is anymore. I'm not sure it exists.)