Jenny (Reading Envy)'s Reviews > Jamrach's Menagerie

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch
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's review
Sep 05, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: read2011, location-uk, booker-winners-and-listed, orange-prize
Read from September 04 to 05, 2011

This is one of those books where I really would like to know what the judges for the Man Booker Prize were thinking when they picked it over 100 other contenders to be longlisted for the prize for 2011. That's why I read it.

Parts of it have promise. The story starts with this young boy, Jaffy, who lives at the very edge of the Thames river, described uncomfortably well, in a way only rivaled by Stephen King. (Good but not good! It puts you there, in a way you would never want to be!) Jaffy has a run-in with a tiger and ends up working for Jamrach's Menagerie, thus the title of the book. To me, these were the interesting bits, unfortunately, they only took the first quarter of the book or so.

Then the author sends Jaffy off on a whale ship, partly to hunt down a "dragon" for the menagerie. Even this was okay, if a bit overdone. Quest! Whaling! The adventure of the sea! *yawn* (I sense that the Booker judges are craving adventure?) The hunt for the dragon was interesting, but I was starting to lose interest. And when (view spoiler) READER BEWARE.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by robyn (new)

robyn this one is on my list tbr. im waiting for your review with breathless anticipation.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Jenny, I loved this book! I thought it was really evocative of the time period and didn't think the stuff at sea was merely there for shock value.

message 3: by Bill (new)

Bill I was thinking of reading this, but after reading your review, I don't think I'll bother.

Jenny (Reading Envy) Bill wrote: "I was thinking of reading this, but after reading your review, I don't think I'll bother."

Maybe try a little in case we don't agree? My opinion seems to be the minority.

message 5: by Bill (new)

Bill I might, we'll see. After all it's "thundering with tension" according to the blurb.

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