Jayne Charles's Reviews > The Petty Details of So-and-So's Life

The Petty Details of So-and-So's Life by Camilla Gibb
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's review
Jul 24, 2011

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This book explores themes familiar in literature - sibling closeness, alcoholism, mental illness and shoddy parenting - but it has a highly original feel, mainly down to its constant inventiveness, and the brisk way in which the story is told. The author cleverly selects only the interesting elements of her characters' lives, and discards the mundane. The writing is lively and frequently humorous (the incident with the police and the furry pig was a particular case in point). I was keen to know what would happen, and you can't ask for much more. If there was a bum note, I would say that the constant reminders, in between events, of the reasons behind the characters' actions (it's all down to their upbringing etc etc) and the gazing at eachother's navels occasionally felt overly didactic, which is not to say that it was badly written. Oh, and the section where two pre-school children are sent unaccompanied on a bus gave me a bit of a jolt. Is this legal in Canada? I'd be tempted not to try it all the same.

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