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3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  204 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Celia Gilchrist believes that she has finally found the right man in Stephen, but when she moves in with Stephen and his young daughter Jenny, things begin to go subtly, menacingly wrong. Money disappears, a sweater is ruined, small, common-place lies escalate into awkward confrontations. Livesey's debut novel Homework, now back in print, is a chilling portrait of jealousy ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 8th 2001 by Picador (first published February 6th 1990)
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(showing 1-30)
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Dec 29, 2008 Ananda rated it liked it
This book was chilling most of the way through, but unfortunately had a lackluster ending. I was hoping for more of a climax than I got.
R. Honey
Aug 23, 2012 R. Honey rated it liked it
Good but I did not care for the ending...........
Apr 20, 2008 polly rated it it was ok
This is a much earlier book than Eva... and that really shows. The language is equally as clean and crisp, though less lyrical. It is engaging--very detailed about mundane things, which is appealing and should lead to deeper characters (though in this case, I don't think it did). Mostly I felt like nothing presented in the first chapter deepened throughout the novel. The narrator has the potential to be more unreliable than she turns out being (though she is certainly complex in that she does a ...more
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Jun 14, 2007 Laila (BigReadingLife) rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
It's really too bad that I couldn't get into this book. Livesey is one of my new favorite authors. This was her first novel, the pace is terribly, terribly slow, and the main character is annoyingly mousy. Plus, I skipped ahead to the end (sometimes I do that!) and the end just makes me mad, so I figured, why continue reading it?
Lucile Barker
Feb 06, 2017 Lucile Barker rated it really liked it
13. Homework by Margot Livesey
This was Livesey’s first novel but it has the depth of a skilled writer. After a failed affair, Celia moves to Scotland for a new job as a textbook editor. She meets Stephen, a dedicated high school teacher, and moves in with him after a short while. Stephen is separated but not divorced and has a seven year old daughter, Jenny, who he sees on weekends. However, his wife, Helen, decides to move to Paris and leave Jenny with him and Celia. Jenny has already shown her
Mellanie C
Dec 11, 2016 Mellanie C marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Dec 17, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Paperback Swap
For the most part, Celia Gilchrist is living a happy life. Despite feeling slightly lonely and a bit like a third wheel when she's around her friends, Celia is nevertheless quite content living on her own, answering to no one else - except her cat Tobias. Yes, life is good for Celia Gilchrist.

When she meets Stephen, Celia is ecstatic and believes that she has finally found the right man to share her life. He is a wonderful man - a math teacher at her friend Deirdre's school - very solicitous of
Jan 17, 2016 Sam rated it did not like it
This is without a doubt the worst book I have ever read. The first couple hundred pages only talked about Celia's life, which by the way is mindnumbingly boring and included nothing that even remotely sparked my interest. All it talked about her failed love life and her having tea with her friends. The word "pullover" was used about 20 times, and the book skipped seemingly at random from place to place. I was utterly and completely confused by Jenny; she was sweet at one moment and a jerk the n ...more
Eric Swanson
Apr 26, 2016 Eric Swanson rated it it was ok
Margot Livesey's debut novel, which traces the increasingly troubled relationship between Celia Gilchrist and her lover's child, is a mildy suspenseful tale that will hold readers' attention but is apt to leave them unsatisfied.

Livesey's prose is serviceable, and she does a good job of sketching the disintegrating relationship between Celia and Jenny. But the characters lack complexity, which makes it difficult to care about how the story turns out. This is especially true of Celia, who has a di
Nov 03, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge Margot Livesey fan. I read all her books and here's what I love about her: she writes about the small cruelties of everyday people in their everyday lives; the little misdemeanors and the larger betrayals, which all add up to make us better or worse people and push us closer or further apart.

Homework is about the struggle between woman and child for the heart of the same man when the woman moves in with the man, who's her boyfriend, and his daughter. How cruel children can be when th
Jun 25, 2014 Ellen rated it it was amazing
This book grabbed me from page one and dragged me through the emotional wreck of the life of Celia in a two day read that I couldn't stand to put down. I found myself fearing and hating this 10 year old child along with the narrator and wishing terrible things would happen to her which I would never truly wish on anyone. This writer is amazing. I started a few years ago, picking up Eva Moves the Furniture at a used book store and have sought every one of her novels since then. And I have not bee ...more
Josh Hawkins
Feb 09, 2009 Josh Hawkins rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, though the pace was admittedly slow for the majority. I had hoped that the plot might take more of a "Bad Seed" direction towards the end, but it played out decently enough. One thing that did bug me slightly was the meekness of the heroine and her willingness to take just about anything, and the staunch refusal over and over and over of her beau to accept that his daughter cound possibly have anything but the kindest motives at heart when she does something. Overall, the ch ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Laci rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Bonis
Aug 19, 2014 Beth Bonis rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this book because at times I really thought it was good and it could only get better. Then saddy it went in the opposite direction! This story was all over the place. There was NO ending! I feel frustrated and that is how I felt most of the time while reading this! It was UNSATISFYING! I feel I have waisted my time!
Sep 22, 2015 Karen rated it it was ok
I think this was supposed to be a suspenseful novel that makes the reader wonder what is really happening, but it felt to me like the story was basically "Woman rushes into a relationship with a man she can't communicate with." I felt angry at all the characters except the little girl, even though she was the only one actively hurting someone.
Dennis Fischman
Apr 09, 2016 Dennis Fischman rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I think I understand what it's like to be a young woman unsure of herself and her relationship with a man better than I ever did before after reading this book. The child seems to me to be just a device to bring out the character of the woman who has moved in with her father. So, I am less concerned with what the child's motives may be than some of the other commenters.
May 27, 2008 Jean rated it liked it
The Bad Seed revisited, but less the horror of Satan and more the horror of failed human beings. You leave the book feeling sorry for the "bad seed" and everyone else--least sympathetic to the benighted father.
Aug 01, 2015 Lesley rated it liked it
Shelves: library-book, family
this book proves just how manipulative children can be! what a little brat but the story was slowww to get anywhere. page 60 before she even meets Stephen. I kept at it cuz the story was building to something and it did but let down.
Erin Noonan
Nov 19, 2013 Erin Noonan rated it liked it
I'm giving this book 3 stars only because it kept me wanting to turn the pages. Ultimately it is disappointing ending and I came to hate the main character as most unsympathetic narrator. This book was like a so bad it's good Lifetime movie.
Feb 09, 2009 Emily rated it liked it
This book made me so angry, mainly at the arrogance of the main character and the author's assumption that the reader would be on her side. Still, I couldn't put it down.
Robyn Dunford
Jun 10, 2016 Robyn Dunford rated it really liked it
Interesting story. The author's twist of the typical "evil step-mother" story into the "evil step-child" made it worth reading.
Stephanie Rosales
Jun 16, 2009 Stephanie Rosales rated it liked it
I met the author at the Literary Women's Festival in Long Beach. I enjoyed this book, but preferred Eva Moved the Furniture.
Krista rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2008
Cheryl rated it really liked it
Oct 28, 2009
Three rated it liked it
Mar 19, 2012
Lori Lamb
Lori Lamb rated it liked it
Sep 25, 2014
Anita Dalton
Anita Dalton rated it it was amazing
Jan 25, 2010
Sandra rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2015
Rachel rated it it was ok
Jun 04, 2013
Jody rated it really liked it
Jul 10, 2011
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Margot Livesey grew up in a boys' private school in the Scottish Highlands where her father taught, and her mother, Eva, was the school nurse. After taking a B.A. in English and philosophy at the University of York in England she spent most of her twenties working in shops and restaurants and learning to write. Her first book, a collection of stories called Learning By Heart, was published by Peng ...more
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