I picked this book up in London at a big chain book store on my, so far, one and only trip there. I got 3 books in all, but this is the one that staye...moreI picked this book up in London at a big chain book store on my, so far, one and only trip there. I got 3 books in all, but this is the one that stayed with me the strongest (I wouldn't even know what the other books were, right now).
I loved the historical aspect, especially how lesbians were seen at the turn of the 20th century. On top of that, the historical figures pulled in (like Virginia Wolfe) also enriched the experience. Although, the book didn't really need it. Hall really knows how to write well, and how to keep a story flowing.
This book was highly original. Perhaps that's not quite true in general, but it certainly felt that way to me! (I'd only seen a bit of the Showtime sh...moreThis book was highly original. Perhaps that's not quite true in general, but it certainly felt that way to me! (I'd only seen a bit of the Showtime show The True Confessions of a London Call Girl and a documentary titled The Girlfriend Experience in this genre.)
First off, reading about the sex profession from the point of view of a male is almost unheard of. It's like women don't pay for it, or something, which I find hard to believe. It is how Cesc in Adventures of a London Call Boy said: most men fail in bed or could care less about the woman's pleasure.
I was glad that only a few times while reading was I met with a sense of incredulity as to what was going on (plot wise): a man who can get each and every one of his lays (not just clients) to multiple orgasms seems unlikely, but then this was cleared up when Cesc explains how he even came to learning about how to pleasure a woman. Also, Celeste, seemed to be a very flat character, if not a horrible best friend for anyone to have. On that note, Cesc himself seemed shallow, superficial and like a douche for the most part, until I got into the story a bit more. Although he really does seem a bit sex-crazed, he's not as horrible as he seems at first.
At times I felt the lack of dialogue, but since this book was written from a first-person memoir account point of view, I could easily look past it and enjoy the scenes being described.
Also, on the note of erotica: it was well written, and the book wasn't one continuous account of sex scene after scene, which can get really boring. Although, I did find it really hard to believe that Cesc was enjoying all those varied forms of sex tossed at him by his clients (including: bondage, multiple penetration, food fetishes, hot candle wax, outfits, etc).
It should also be noted, that this book was filled with humor. Mostly amusing passages and interesting situations that you normally don't come across! Due to that, it should probably be called the MISadventures of a London Call Boy!
Conclusion: In all this was a wonderfully written, realistic yet hilarious account of what can all happen in a big city and you let yourself take sex to the professional level. Cesc was a great character, and although I'd never hire him, his accounts were great to follow! (less)
This book ended up so differently than what I expected from the title! Our heroine might be innocent, butnot in all of the worldly ways!
This book gets...moreThis book ended up so differently than what I expected from the title! Our heroine might be innocent, butnot in all of the worldly ways!
This book gets five stars from me. First off, it is really well written. McPhee really knows how to write. There were no awkward scenes or moments when I had to say "wait, that makes no sense".
Secondly, the plot flowed so well from moment to momnent. I was wonder how a week-long jouney through English-countryside could be 300 pages, but they flew by so fast!
The characters were also amazing. Rosalind, our heroine, is very understandable, and although we don't know her full story (there are actually a lot of details missing at first, which we get told as the story progresses) it still makes us sympathy with her and want to chuck Wolf over the head for being so adament while helping Rosalind to escape.
On that note, fourthly, Rosalind's many escape attempts didn't annoy me. In most other books her character would have irked me so much, but she was logical and thourough; just my kind of gal.
On a fifth note, the character of Wolf also had depths. One of the main themes was "no one is who they seem" and Wolf definitly fit that. I loved reading about him! Physically he was amazing, but also emotionally and other -lys made him a wonderful character.
Sixthly, there were recurring themes throughout the story. One really came out strongly in the end (although it was there the whole time) about fathers, and what our parents generation leaves us. Another was "true love" as we know it from a princess bride. And there were many more that McPhee tied intoned story.
Seventh off, I loved the setting. 1800's England is my most favorite place and McPhee really displayed this! Not only were the physical characteristcs there (horses, ostlers, inns, etc) but also the psychological ones (I am remembering a scene where Wolf was binding Rosalinds feet, and then touched her legs; even looking at them was taboo!) and all the turns of phrase were acurate.
Last of all, usually books like this lay heavy on the sex scenes, but this isn't the case here. The two that are described with a bit more details are very important to the story but they aren't overlly explicit. It just fit, just like everything else.
Somehow I liked the movie more. Perhaps it was because I saw it first (although years ago) but I think also because it was just easier to understand t...moreSomehow I liked the movie more. Perhaps it was because I saw it first (although years ago) but I think also because it was just easier to understand the story and to laugh at the audacious things that go on.
Thats not to say that this book was bad. Far from it! Had I read this back when I was 10/12 I think it easily could have been up there with favorites such as A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. Right now it was cute and enjoyable but not with much substance. The film would entertain more.
Recommended for: children of 10-14 years of age. Much easier to identify with then. Watch the movie if you want the story line otherwise.(less)
Sometimes you read a book and it gives you all the answers. Spells the whole plot and ideas and problems and solutions all clearly and precisely out s...moreSometimes you read a book and it gives you all the answers. Spells the whole plot and ideas and problems and solutions all clearly and precisely out so you don't have to think at all.
Sometimes you read a book in which you have to figure things out. Usually as you go along but more likely just the ending. It's not necessarily a mystery... Just not everything is revealed to the reader while it transpires. Or, as the reader, you're just too oblivious to really pay attention enough.
And then there are books like this one, The Sense of an Ending. I'm not really sure what the aim was; if there was a point to be made, other than all the minuscule mundane minature ones (e. g. don't grow up doing nothing; you'll regret never having taken those chances).
So I am finding it really hard to rate and review this book. Not much happens in it. And yet a whole lifetime more or less passes. There aren't any great, lasting moments. A few amusing anecdotes and perhaps an admonishment of how to live my life 'better' will be all I can't take with me. Still, it wasn't terrible.
Somehow I feel like I "just didn't get it" [this book]. (less)