Friday, 23 December 2016

Book Review - My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal

My Name Is LeonMy Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just finished reading this engrossing novel by author, Kit de Waal.

At first I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy the language and tone because of the opening lines but the story promised more so I kept going. I became more and more involved in Leon's world as the story progressed.
I loved the casual way in which de Waal increases the intensity of the story until a high point towards the end and lets the reader float gently into a satisfying conclusion.

The lives of each character is cleverly woven into the story and we are never in any doubt about their motives. The characters leap from the page as if they were sat right in front of you. The dialogue was realistic and raised your understanding of the characters - none of it was wasted.

Description of scenes and settings are enhanced by some colourful and sometimes poetic language, setting the perfect atmosphere and breathing life into every episode of Leon's journey.

At times I felt as if I was reading a story that has lived and breathed with this writer for a long time because there is a loving and caring touch between the lines that I found most compelling. It is a story that is likely to live with me a long time, especially since some of the history and culture of the West Indian characters resonate with me.

Kit de Waal is a delightful writer and this is a story I could see on the GCSE English syllabus in time and, hopefully, the first of many from this author. Read it now.

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Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Food of Love - Book Review

The Food of LoveThe Food of Love by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was the first title I’d read by Amanda Prowse and the quality of writing would encourage me to read others by her.

The subject matter has been covered several times before so it is always risky to want to write about it again. From reading Prowse’s account of how anorexia infected the lives of one family you would almost believe that she has had personal experience of the illness in some way, which makes the Food Of Love a very compelling read of a well documented topic.

I found the author’s writing style delightful. The beginning goes at a slower pace than the last third but didn’t stop me wanting to keep turning the pages from the start.

The story is told in the third person through Freya (the mother’s) point of view. It encourages a debate in your mind as you read because you are allowed to decide whether you are in agreement with Freya’s decisions or if, as mother, you would handle the situation differently. I like that in a novel. If an author has you questioning a character’s motives then she has a captivated reader and that can only be a good thing.

I didn’t get a very good sense of place or setting throughout. Was I in a town or a village? I was never really sure. And it could be because this was a ‘to be published version’ but I didn’t like that verbs weren’t contracted and a few times I wasn’t convinced that when Lexi spoke (or her sister come to that) that she was a teenager. Her language was a bit wooden and towards the low points of her illness, the language didn’t sound authentic for a girl her age.

I also thought it was a mistake to call a girl with anorexia and dyslexia – Alexia. Weird.

If you can ignore that and you want to indulge in a well written, heartfelt piece of women’s fiction then you couldn’t go far wrong with this book.

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