I did enjoy this book. I thought I should make that clear now, because I mostly want to rant about it.
Thomas used homoeopathy as a plot device in The...moreI did enjoy this book. I thought I should make that clear now, because I mostly want to rant about it.
Thomas used homoeopathy as a plot device in The End of Mister Y. Okay, that's fine, you get one magical freebie. However, when it showed up here in PopCo, I realised; Oh...you really believe this, don't you?
There are also severe problems with Thomas' representations of veganism and activism. At one point, a character destroys a PopCo product in a toy store, as a passive-aggressive way of punishing the company. Thomas didn't seem to realise that PopCo would not lose money on the item - the toy store would. The character's edgy, daring, stick-it-to-the-man vandalism was simply the act of a ignorant, selfish, immature something or other. The same when a vegan character recommended destroying eggs. Why would a vegan destroy eggs? It just means that the store will need to buy more! It harms animals, and does absolutely nothing to the companies they are 'protesting' against. It contradicts the character's own stated morals, and, as a real-life vegan, annoyed me. Quite a lot.
In short, things like this make Thomas' characters come across as ignorant, childish, hypocrites, which severely ruined my enjoyment of the book. The story is fine, it's interesting, it's absorbing, and I liked the codes. I just wanted to smack the stupid out of a lot of the characters.(less)
I absolutely hated the ending. As far as I'm concerned, it didn't happen - those last few chapters were a nightmare sequence, and just one more chapte...moreI absolutely hated the ending. As far as I'm concerned, it didn't happen - those last few chapters were a nightmare sequence, and just one more chapter would have shown that.(less)
My Big Fake Irish Life. Saw it on Amazon ages ago, finally got around to buying it. It's about an actress who is unsuccessful as her dishwater-blonde...moreMy Big Fake Irish Life. Saw it on Amazon ages ago, finally got around to buying it. It's about an actress who is unsuccessful as her dishwater-blonde mid-American self, so decides to reinvent herself as an Irish redhead in order to give herself a unique selling point.
It's laugh-out-loud funny in places, and all the characters are squeeful. I looked at a few other reviews on goodreads, and one negative review said she felt that the main character spent too long dwelling over whether she should reveal herself or not, and it got repetitive. I guess it does come up a lot, but, y'know, that's the story. I didn't find it irritating. That said, some books - Lisa Jewell's Joy and Vince and Thirty-Nothing come to mind - have a will-they-won't-they storyline that drags on for decades (both within the book, and in the time it feels like it takes to get to where they actually make a decision) and that did my head in. I didn't find this book similar in that aspect, but I guess I can see why someone would.
I gave it 4/5 stars. It was happy and silly and generally cheering.(less)
**spoiler alert** I found it hard to categorise this book, or even to say whether or not I liked it. I first read it at the age of twelve or so, and t...more**spoiler alert** I found it hard to categorise this book, or even to say whether or not I liked it. I first read it at the age of twelve or so, and that was too young, in my case. The book scared me, and upset me, but I still wanted to read it.
I last reread it when I was sixteen or so, along with the sequels and prequels, and it still bothered me then. What stands out most, for me, is a scene where it felt like everything hinged on one decision - which parents to choose - and that that was the turning point, the part where the book started to make me feel really bad. This stands out for me in contrast to Jinian Footseer, which I read around the same time, in which every moment like that served to make the story better, and more enjoyable.
After reading this, I also looked for and read VC Andrews other books, including My Sweet Audrina. I don't know if that, and the rereading, and the fact that it's stayed with me for the past decade plus means I liked it or not.(less)
**spoiler alert** I felt that this was one of the best books in the Point Horror series. I felt that it was creepier and had more depth than many of t...more**spoiler alert** I felt that this was one of the best books in the Point Horror series. I felt that it was creepier and had more depth than many of the others, which read more like mild slasher films. Instead, this had the feel of a mild Diana Wynne Jones (I'm particularly thinking Fire and Hemlock).
I was a little dissatisfied by the ending, though. I felt that there was more to say on the subject, that the loose threads weren't wrapped up neatly, or even at all. It seemed like the characters were starting on the road to an ending, not that they had reached it. I'd love to see a sequel.(less)
The first thing I thought of, on reading the back of this book was 50 First Dates, the Adam Sandler film, and, in some ways, th...moreThe Spoiler-Free Review
The first thing I thought of, on reading the back of this book was 50 First Dates, the Adam Sandler film, and, in some ways, the main plot device is very similar. Christine, the main character, is unable to hold memories for longer than a day. Every morning, she wakes up believing herself to be young, with her entire life ahead of her and must be told, once again, that she is not, that she has lost however many years. The number of years varies; some days, she believes she is in her twenties, some days, a child.
The mechanism is described a little more realistically than in the Adam Sandler movie; not surprising, considering this is a crime novel, and not a comedy film. It's not perfect - much of how it works is hand-waved with "us doctors are confused, too!", but that's okay. Every story gets one freebie after all, before they have to justify the fantastic.
After a short introduction to Christine, and how her day to day life works, we begin reading the diary she's been keeping. There's a mounting sense of tension that's perfectly paced; I didn't feel that too much information had been dumped on me in a short time, but nor did the story drag. The revelations came, slowly and subtly, creating a creeping sense of dread. You know that Christine shouldn't tell her husband about the diary, but you can't quite put your finger on why not.
I was able to guess certain things about where the story was going, but only shortly before those items were revealed.
I found the ending a little unbelievable (I'll explain why in the spoileriffic review!) but, ultimately, satisfying.
In short, I liked the book. It was intriguing, and fun to read. It reminded me a little of Sophie Hannah's work, though it didn't reach quite the amount of mystery and tension that she does, and a little of Memento, though not quite as cruel.
The Spoileriffic Review
This review assumes you have read the book!
It might, perhaps, make more sense to believe that Christine perished in the fire, and that the happy ending is her dying dream, than to believe that the final events happen as described. Christine's on-going memory loss was the result of emotional trauma, and is magically cured after facing it? How is that even possible, when she wakes up next to the cause of the trauma every morning? Does her mind continually suppress the horror of knowing she is trapped by this man and can't escape?
The magical cure, though nice, just isn't realistic. It doesn't ring true.
That said, I don't have any objections to the real Ben showing up, still harboring a torch for her. I believe that he felt it was best, for Christine and for Adam, to stay away, but that, ultimately, he still loved her. I can also believe that Adam, who was a young child when they lost contact, would find it difficult to make contact with his mother again. All of that works for me, it's just the magical memory regain that seems a bit contrived.
I did like the fact that Ben was a vegan, especially since he wasn't a mad hippy (Pinki, E), or an insane, stupid, hypocritical "revolutionary" (every character, PopCo). It's refreshing to read of a sane, normal vegan, even if he does only get a few pages of screentime.
Overall, I did like the book. It works despite its flaws. Besides, I think I prefer the unrealistic happy ending to a more realistic one.(less)
If your entire cast of characters wants to smack the heroine for being a silly cow and fucking everyone over, why on earth would you think people woul...moreIf your entire cast of characters wants to smack the heroine for being a silly cow and fucking everyone over, why on earth would you think people would want to read about her?
I read this in one night*, in an attempt to reach the point where the aforementioned heroine stop being so goddamn wishy-washy and ruining everything. Spoiler; she never did.
*(It only took about two hours. This was not a big deal; don't take it as a compliment towards the book).(less)
This was a weird little book. For much of it, the tone sounds like it's giving us a summary of a more detailed story. It's a love story with some stra...moreThis was a weird little book. For much of it, the tone sounds like it's giving us a summary of a more detailed story. It's a love story with some strange little vignettes and asides. It deals with some serious issues, like alcoholism, and not everything goes right, but it works out in the end. As you can tell, I had some trouble describing it.(less)
I was eight in 1996. And being an eight-year-old girl in 1996 meant growing up with the Spice Girls as huge icons on your cultural landscape. They wer...moreI was eight in 1996. And being an eight-year-old girl in 1996 meant growing up with the Spice Girls as huge icons on your cultural landscape. They were larger-than-life figures; they were cartoons. They were their characters; Sporty, Ginger, Baby, Posh, and Scary.
When I was fifteen, an ongoing skit in Bo Selecta involved Mel B repeatedly trying to sell her autobiography. Around this time, I found a heavily reduced copy, and, after seeing that skit, it tickled me to actually own a copy, so I bought it.
Recently, I reread Catch a Fire, after finding a copy of Geri's biography, If Only, in a charity shop. It was fascinating to see the same events from two different points of view, especially when compared to my own memories, of seeing these events as a child. It was then that I looked for more Spice Girl biographies on amazon, and found Learning to Fly.
Victoria differs more from Geri and Mel B than they do from each other. She was also in a totally different place in her life at the time, finding a (presumably) happy marriage, and having children while Geri and Mel B were still working through their own issues with abusive relationships and eating disorders.
I feel that it was definitely worth my time reading this book. As you can tell from the above anecdote, I didn't read it searching for good literature, merely to find another viewpoint of events that I have, so far, experienced four different versions of. The books easy to read, and I rather enjoyed the way the mystery near the end was laid out (though whodunnit was very easy to guess, even without looking it up!). It was also nice to read a Spice biography which had something of a happy ending, instead of events which were still up in the air.
All in all, I found reading this book to be an enjoyable experience.(less)