Shelleyrae at Book'd Out's Reviews > The Radleys

The Radleys by Matt Haig
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Feb 12, 12

Recommended to Shelleyrae by: Judith at Leeswammes
Read on February 08, 2012

The Radley's home at 17 Orchard Lane is on a leafy street in a pretty English village with a mini van in the drive. Behind the heavy curtains on the windows Helen makes her family breakfast, Peter reads the newspaper and Rowan and Carly bicker. As the morning wears on Peter will leave to open his doctor's surgery for the day, Rowan and Clara will head to school and Helen will tidy the kitchen before joining her friends for a game of tennis. Despite the veneer of normality, The Radley's are just a little odd for they have a secret. The members of this ordinary family are vampires. Peter and Helen made the decision to abstain from drinking blood and integrate into society when Rowan was born. The children are ignorant of their true natures - their ailments like sleeplessness, rashes, weakness and pale skin carefully explained away as a rare disorder. Until one night when Clara is brutally attacked and the family's true nature is revealed.

I believe it was Judith at Leeswammes Blog that first brought this book to my attention. The premise was tempting and Judith's review promised something delightful and different. Having read a previous novel by Haig (The Dead Fathers Club) several years ago and remembering it as quirky I expected that The Radley's would be something out of the ordinary and that prediction was proved true. With dry humour and gentle satire, Matt Haig taps into the popularity of the vampire genre and turns it into a literary domestic drama. Haig picks apart the ordinariness of family life and examines it in a new light. In amongst this story the vampires face the English middle class social issues like mid-life crisis, bullying, fidelity and conformity. The Radleys are the epitome of the family that is trying to 'keep up with the Jones's' but are destined to fail because they are nothing like their neighbours, no matter how much they wish they were.

The Radleys is a fun and deceptively insightful novel about families and society. Those weird people that you live next door to? They may have a secret too.
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