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The Extra Large Medium

3.13 of 5 stars 3.13  ·  rating details  ·  193 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Annie Colville talks to the people who wear chocolate brown. They come to her to tell of the lost key behind the sofa, the Crown Derby coffee sets, the clematis that needs a good prune. Annie Colville has long since learned that death does not a philosopher of Auntie Mabel make.
Paperback, 220 pages
Published 2006 by Long Barn Books
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My mother sent this book down with a bunch of others that she though I would like at some point and so I have had this book sitting on a shelf for years. I don't know why I took it down and started reading it, but I'm glad I did. Annie has been seeing dead people since she was a little girl, it is a trait that runs in her family. The dead do not apparently have generally have anything exciting to say, mostly they want to tell a family member to trim the hedge, or who should get the silverware. T ...more
This was terrible. I couldn't keep track who the heck all the people were, and I didn't really get the ending. The blurbs and reviews on the book (although maybe I shouldn't trust those so much??) made it sound like it should have been good...but it was AWFUL. The whole thing just seemed rather wandering and pointless.
Maybe I am a skimmer, but I felt this jolted quite a number of times and when I re-read to see if I missed something I found out maybe I didn't.
However, its main concept was interesting, I enjoyed being annoyed at this disssociated protagonist and wished we learned a little more about Evan bees.

Helen Slavin tells the story of Annie Colville, who has been talking with dead people since her earliest childhood, and can only distinguish them from the living by their chocolate brown wardrobes. Despite her expanded acquaintance, Annie is very much alone, and struggles to deal with first her promiscuous mother and then Evan Bees, who disappeared one day, as she wrestles with the problem of the restless hoards who come to her with unfinished business, such as the Crown Derby china, who's going ...more
I wasn't charmed completely by this book. There were definitely some nice moments in it and I liked some of the techniques that Annie used as a medium. My main complaint is that the book is too ethereal in the narrative style, it's like 229 pages of exposition, I never felt like I was present for any of the action really, not until right and the end and maybe that was Slavin's intent. I can certainly see why she would aim for this fragile kind of feel to it, Annie as a character is certain very ...more
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Belinda Kroll
If you think perhaps this book has a theme similar to The Sixth Sense, that’s what I thought too. Except instead of being a thriller of sorts, this book is insightful and humorous, with a succinct tone that doesn’t forgive any character and yet makes you feel for them nonetheless. At its heart, this book is about a woman who loses her husband and waits, against her will, for the day she has to legally declare him dead.

For you writers, read this book to learn how to write about a topic (like deat
I thought this book was ok. It kind of reminds me of a Sarah Addison Allen book -- easy-to-read, entertaining enough, no brain power needed type read. Overall, it's a mostly charming/cozy style, but does have a somewhat sinister turn or two in it. The pacing was fine until close to the end, when things picked up/changed tone unexpectedly & a quick wrap-up was tacked on; it felt a bit disconcerting after the more languid pace of most of the book. Not sure I'm thrilled w/ the title either (it ...more
c2006. Picked up in a library sale. Nice quick read with a different kind of plot. Emotions are described really well and the book is written in a way that reminds me of how one actually thinks - ie in phrases sometimes rather than full sentences. Or maybe this is just a peculiarity of moi. Noir and funny, bitter and romantic all at the same time. Really like some of the eccentric characters that are succinctly drawn.FWFTB: brown, dead, disappears, questions, gift. FCN: Annie Colville, Evan Bees ...more
Ruth Lawton
I was torn about what star rating to give this book. Subject interesting. Style of writing interesting. Easy to read, kept me interested. I was not particularly attached to anyone. Nor I felt was the main character, despite all the protestations to the contrary.
Yvonne Boag
Annie Colville has always been able to see the dead. They reach out to her with messages to pass on to the ones left behind. Most of the messages are simple involving tea sets or lost keys and there are a lot of dead who seem to be named Jim. Annie meets Evan Bees and falls in love and everything is going well until one day he just never comes home.
Well written, sometimes funny and sometimes very sad, The Extra Large Medium is a gem of a novel. It doesn't classify in any known genre but seems to
This book was the top recommendation from a (UK) website that you select your reading preferences and it spits out books you might enjoy. This book was certainly unusual and dark but not very funny. Very British. Took a long time in this short book to figure out where it was going, to get to the action. Rather shocking twist, not really enough seeds planted in the first half to make it totally credible. Would have liked a little more about what happened to Evan and Her Father - loose threads, gu ...more
Annie can see dead people. They wear chocolate-colored clothing and talk to her. She's a medium and learns at an early age that it makes other people uncomfortable when she talks about it. So she doesn't. But her gift helps the dead because she can deliver messages. She can help the living by giving them advice and finding lost loved ones. But somehow Annie's personal life needs help. Her relationship with her mother is odd. Her husband leaves her out-of-the-blue. This is definitely a quirky adu ...more
Feb 08, 2008 Ellen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ellen by: Elisabeth Guimbarda
I'm conflicted about this book -- Beryl Bainbridge (an author I adore) has a quote on the front cover of my edition, saying that -- essentially -- Helen Slavin wastes no words in her writing. I could not agree more -- her prose is very sparse, but the narrative gets muddled and, more often than not, is incredibly confusing. I really wanted to love this book -- but I struggled to sympathize with the main character, and many of the plot points were completely lost on me. I tend to be a bit of a sk ...more
I got this book because it was on sale and the subject sounded interesting - a woman who can see and talk to dead people. The writing style is fine for me - it's just like Annie (the main character) was talking to me very casually. As to the plot, I found that I had to re-read several pages back as I often got lost - except for a few characters, I had to refresh my memory on some of the dead people that turned up. It held my interest somewhat as I wanted to find out what would happen to Annie's ...more
a little out their but I liked it.
Seems kind of like the author wanted to use the title and then build a story around it, because the "extra large medium" isn't even the protagonist, but a minor character related to her (although she, too, is a medium).

It's obvious that the author is a TV writer, because there were many passages I had to go back and re-read because the action was not immediately evident. Adding to the confusion are some alternate chapters written by minor characters, sometimes, but not always, deceased.

I will n
I really liked this book though I'll say you need to pay attention and stick with it. It's not your usual psychic/medium story. Yes she sees/hears dead people and the first third of the book relates how she learns to deal with this phenomena. But at the end I saw it as more about a person finding their way and place in life and what they are meant to do. I recommend it IF you like a rather non-linear read.
This could have been a good book - it was certainly quirky and different enough to keep my attention. Unfortunately the writing was too reliant on innuendo and so much of the innuendo was unclear. I had to guess all the time what the author meant, and then often found I had made the wrong guess. Frustrating. I liked the protagonist, Annie, so I kept going ... but by the end of the book I wondered why.
I loved this book. For the first couple of chapters I thought I would hate it - but I was soon lured in. There's something about the way it's written - the language is really quite simple and sparse, but beautiful. The storyline did leave some questions unanswered but I think that this is the case with a lot of books because life is like that - when do we ever get all of the answers?
In this unusual tale, Annie Colville sees those who visit from the other side dressed all in brown, but they are anything but dull. She is a Medium trying to solve two mysteries in her own life while helping (sometimes reluctantly) others with her gift. A quirky off kilter kind of story that did keep me reading to find if there was any hope for Annie. Very pleased that there was.
This book made me laugh out loud more than once. I got lost a couple of times, but I'm not 100% sure that my cold wasn't to blame, so I won't hold that against it. I would definitely recommend it. It mixes a touch of mystery with some supernatural bits and then adds a pinch of romance just for good measure. Stir and liberally top with humor. Sounds like a recipe for a good book to me.
Jul 08, 2007 Beth rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Some people
I thought this book was going to be a lot more interesting since it involved a medium, but it was actually a bit confusing. I got the ending, but there were a lot of parts that were completely lost on me. It's a British author, and as they say, we are two nations separated by a common language. Some of the English was incomprehensible, along with a kooky writing style.
I don't like books about ghosts, but I decided to read this because I do like Brit Lit. Brits have a caustic wit that I like. This book was saved by the witty and unsentimental way that the ghosts were handled. On the down side I did find the book occasionally confusing and rambling. This author has real potential and look forward to her next effort.
Annie has always been able to see the dead, all wearing chocolate brown, but when her husband goes missing, and doesn't come to visit her life starts to unravel.

An interesting read, with some humour, but the author seems to have lost steam near the end and the end is a little disappointing and I found it unsatisfying.
This book was only just o.k. A bit like the dead folk that visit Annie it is a bit dull and chocolate brown. I found some of the earlier parts a little crude (Annie's mother is very promiscuous) but later in the book it is less so. I don't think I would have bothered reading it if I had not been recommended it.
I didn't even read the whole thing. It was... really not how I thought it would be. It was just boring and messy.
I am not a very mushy person. But if you like stories about women going through life with lots of problems and trying to find their way. This book is for you. I thought it would be about ghosts (like the show, Ghost Whisperer) or something. NOTHING LIKE IT!
Jen Winter
This little book just happened to be sitting on the library shelf next to a book I was looking for. It was a delightful find! It was a quick read and rather entertaining. If you are not familiar with English terms then you may not enjoy it as much as I did.
May 27, 2008 Mary rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: popular
Disjointed and weird. I really liked the concept of the book (a woman who sees ghosts and tries to get their final messages to their loved ones), but this story just seemed to go off on a lot of tangents and the end left me wishing it had gone some other way.
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